New depot spurs big dreams
Orland Park plans a new downtown
By Carmen Greco Jr
Special to the Tribune
April 27, 2007
The architecture of Orland Park's new Victorian-style train station may hark
back to the village's roots, but officials said it holds the key to the
The Metra station near 143rd Street and Southwest Highway has been serving
commuters for about a month.
"It's going to be a centerpiece for Metra, and it will be the heart of
Orland Park for a long time to come," said Trustee James Dodge, who joined
officials from the regional transportation agency for a formal dedication of
the station Thursday morning.
Completion of the $3 million depot is the linchpin for an adjacent mixed-use
development that would bring condominiums, restaurants, retail outlets,
offices and recreational space.
Village officials hope the area, known as the Main Street Triangle, becomes
a destination for area residents and turns into the downtown that Orland
Park has never really had.
The architectural style of the condominiums and commercial buildings would
mirror the train station, which is a tribute to the town's founding in 1892
along a new railroad link between Chicago and St. Louis.
The town's first train station was named Sedgewick.
"Some have thought Orland Park was named Sedgewick, after the train
station," Mayor Daniel McLaughlin, who could not attend the dedication, said
in a prepared statement. "That wasn't the case. The town took its name from
the township, which was formed in 1850."
The station, which includes a 1,600-square-foot interior waiting area and a
covered outdoor waiting area with two 465-foot platforms, came to Orland
Park as part of a large improvement program by Metra to handle increased
ridership along its Southwest Service Line. New facilities also have been
built in New Lenox and in Manhattan.
Thirty trains destined for downtown Chicago stop at the new Orland Park
station, more than double the number that served the old depot a few blocks
to the west. Ridership has increased by 17 percent along the line with the
new stations, Metra Board Chairman Carole Doris said.
"This is a very important time for public transportation," Doris said at the
dedication. "You know what the price of gas is now and the state of our
expressways. It's good for the region, it's good for your town and it's good
for the environment."
Next month village officials will field proposals from residential and
commercial developers to begin filling in the other pieces of the Triangle.
Dodge said officials have long wanted to create a downtown area that paid
homage to Orland Park's history, adding that the new train station offered
the opportunity to do just that.
"Vision and timing came together pretty well on this one," he said.
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune