The City of Lake Forest was pleased to announced in early spring that it had received an additional $1,236,520 in funding from the Illinois Transportation Highway Authority (ITEP) to complete the remainder of Phase I and Phase II of the East Side Train Station Renovation, a $3 million project.
The Preservation Foundation initiated the Station Restoration project in 2008 by funding a $50,000 Historic Structure Report by Harboe Architects that was presented to the City in 2009. This report, which was an investment of Foundation resources to save the historic station, established a strong “case for support” of the project in the ITEP process. The Foundation assisted the City in preparing the applications for the ITEP grants awarded in 2010 as well as the applications most recently submitted and awarded. The recent ITEP grant will fund the completion of Phase II of the project, which includes interior restoration: including upgrading and replacing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire suppression systems and carpentry. The building’s woodwork, plaster and foundation have suffered significant water damage and the restrooms do not satisfy ADA standards and commuter traffic volume. In addition to functioning as an active Metra station, the building, site and adjacent regional bicycle trail are also the focal point and gathering place for many community events.
The 1899 Tudor-Revival station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure in the Lake Forest National Register District. It was designed by renowned Chicago architects and Lake Forest residents Charles Sumner Frost and Alfred H. Granger. The building and site serve as the transportation hub for Lake Forest and a “focal point” in the Market Square Historic District. The building, site, and parking lots function as an active METRA station, and serve as an important trailhead facility and comfort station for the Robert McClory regional bike trail linking North Shore communities with Chicago and the region. They are the focal point for community events, including the annual Lake Forest Day parade/celebration, Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Family Fair in Market Square, and recently the 150th Anniversary celebrations of Lake Forest’s founding.
The Foundation is pleased to continue to work with the City in this private-public partnership to plan next steps and completion of the restoration and necessary renovation improvements. Assistant City Manager Carina Walters comments “This has been a long-time collaboration of efforts between the Preservation Foundation and the City. The restoration of the train station will make Market Square complete.”