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CTA plans for $203 million makeover of Wilson L station unveiled

Artist rendering an exterior view looking north Broadway from WilsAvenue new CTA WilsstatiRed LIne. | CTA rendering provided by Ald.

Artist rendering of an exterior view looking north on Broadway from Wilson Avenue of the new CTA Wilson station on the Red LIne. | CTA rendering provided by Ald. James Cappleman

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Updated: November 5, 2012 11:42AM

Ald. James Cappleman will tell you a $203 million makeover of the CTA’s Wilson Red Line station is two decades in the making.

Transit riders have called the Uptown station filthy, sketchy and worn out for years. However it’s described, it’s one of the most heavily traveled L stops on the North Side: more than 2 million riders boarded at the station last year.

The project became possible when it was included last year in the CTA’s Red Ahead program — a $1 billion plan to modernize and expand the Red Line.

Cappleman on Wednesday unveiled three CTA-provided renderings of the proposed station, ahead of a public meeting next week. Renderings show a sleek platform, new viaduct and support beams. The terra-cotta exterior of the historic Gerber Building, which is currently underneath the tracks, will be restored and the tracks moved further west.

Demolition is scheduled for next spring, and construction will continue through 2015, the CTA says. A stationhouse will be rebuilt with new elevators. A new transfer station will connect Red and Purple Line riders.

Cappleman hopes the new station will not only make riders happy, but will give the ward an economic boost. He notes that his ward is particularly reliant on mass transit: 43 percent of ward residents — including him — don’t own cars.

The new station will be available for new retail. But the alderman is aiming for something very specific for the station.

“I am pushing for an indoor farmers market,” he said. “This is one of the most diverse wards in the city.”

The CTA will discuss details of the plan at 6 p.m. next Thursday at Truman College. The transit agency says the station will remain open throughout the construction project, but service interruptions can be expected.

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