Metra Stop Status Could Come Next Week
Jul 30, 2015 07:06AM
● By Steven Jack
When it comes to securing a future Metra stop in Kendall County, Oswego Village President Gail Johnson said she thinks more local collaboration has taken place in the past two months than in the past two years.
Johnson met with the leaders of Yorkville, Montgomery, Sandwich and Plano last week at Oswego Village Hall to solidify a task force of the five communities and Kendall County that will make a renewed effort to lobby for a Metra stop in the county. And while that stop may be years from reality, Johnson said it’s time to get the project back on track.
“We now have five communities working together with the county to get this done,” Johnson said. “It’s time we figure out who is in charge and where we go from here.”
Kendall County Board member Scott Gryder of Oswego, who is also a member of the task force, said he has recently been in contact with Metra officials, who said a status on a Kendall County stop could come as soon as next week after private internal meetings at the agency.
The latest study is on top of about $2.5 million in feasibility work that has been conducted since a 2003 $7.5 million federal funding earmark secured by then Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Accounting for the funds already spent from the earmark, that leaves about $4.5 million to finally complete the feasibility study.
“As far as we know the money is still there from the earmark,” Johnson said. “… If the money is there for the study, let’s get it done and let our communities know if this is a go or a no go.”
Johnson acknowledged in June that a Kendall County stop had “fallen off Metra’s radar” in recent years. Further, she said this week that Metra officials were not even aware of the village’s acquisition of the land at Orchard and Mill, which occurred in March.
Johnson also said it’s possible Metra may decide Oswego is not the best location in Kendall County for a stop. That’s what makes this new regional approach so important, she said.
“If the study comes back that Plano is the best place, well, that wouldn’t necessarily make me happy, but I would understand. We have to stop this isolated thinking, and start thinking of the county as a whole.”
Gryder said he's happy to be moving forward as a cohesive group with the task force, and he agreed that recent efforts are the most local collaboration he's witnessed since joining the County Board in 2012.