The delays keep getting longer at Skokie’s new Oakton Street station and the facility hasn’t even opened yet.
It was stated at Monday’s village board meeting the targeted opening of the new stop on the Yellow Line is now the month of May. The information came out as the board was approving a nearly $500,000 contract for Skokie-based Schroeder & Schroeder Inc. to construct a pick up and drop off facility adjacent to the station.
Despite the mild winter, the project opening, which at one time was talked about being finished in early January, has been pushed back yet again.
Still, no disappointment in the delay is being expressed as of yet. In a February posting on the Skokie Web site, the village says it is pleased with the state of the project.
“We’ve been making significant progress,” said Fred Schattner, the village’s Director of Engineering. “It’s a complicated process. We meet challenges daily out there. With the challenges we faced we are doing fine.”
He added, “It’s hard to pinpoint an exact date.”
It was in late January when Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen made the following announcement at a meeting of the Skokie Caucus Party. “It is going to be done in April for certain,” the Mayor said. “We are now at the tail end of the punch list which is the little things.”
Some of the delays stem from electrical issues involving the signals and communication devices, Schattner said. Once all of the items on the “punch list” are done, the CTA will come in and inspect the station and then the final piece of the puzzle will be the installation of the fare equipment.
In terms of the new “Kiss n’ Ride” portion of the station, 80 percent of that particular project will be paid for through an RTA grant, the rest coming from the village’s TIF funds.
The Oakton stop is hoped to inject many new pedestrians into Skokie’s up and coming downtown area and should also benefit employees at the Illinois Science and Technology Park.
New Oberweis store a first of its kind
In other board action Monday night, trustees gave final approval to the construction of the new Oberweis store that is expected to be in business by late summer on West Dempster Street. This is going to be the first Oberweis store that will feature both the company’s traditional dairy products as well as hot grill items.
For the second consecutive meeting, some neighbors of Carol Street expressed safety concerns over the store and the nearby apartment building. There was even a suggestion of speed bumps being placed in the alley where deliveries are made, but Van Dusen was adamant that would not come because speed bumps slow down emergency vehicles.
Skokie's upcoming referendum
On the March 20 primary ballot, Skokie residents are going to be asked in a referendum if they want to join forces with other North Shore communities in what the village hopes will lead to lower electricity rates.
In the second of two required public hearings, Skokie Public Works Director Max Slankard explained how the Electric Aggregation Referendum would in a sense put Skokie in the same pool as Deerfield, Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Park Ridge and Northbrook to buy electricity as a group with the belief that it will lead to lower prices for residents. If approved, the measure would allow other energy suppliers besides ComEd the opportunity to come into the market.
Regardless of the decision by the voters on March 20th, Skokie residents will still receive their electricity from ComEd and will still pay ComEd monthly, but where the energy comes from may change. Individual residents will have the option to “opt out” of the program if they choose to do so by notifying the village by mail.