Historic Green Line station renovated to open a ‘gateway’ to the South Side

CHICAGO -- A historic CTA Green Line stop dating back to the 1890s is reopening at Garfield after a $43 million renovation gave new life to the station.

First built as part of the World's Columbian Exposition, the original Garfield stop is one of the oldest public transit stations in the country. City and federal funds paid for the renovation, which includes landscaping, public art, an elevator, escalator improvements and more. A renovated station house will also serve as a public event pace in the future.

Cliff Rome says he used to use an old currency exchange down the street, before he turned it into Peach's at Currency Exchange Cafe. For business owners like him, fixing up the 'L' station means more than just a face lift.

"The goal is to make sure we employ people in the zip code," Rome said. "Then the person down the street is able to walk to work as well. They're able to jump off the Green Line and walk right inside the cafe."

In renovating the station, the City aims to turn the Green Line stop into a gateway to businesses and attractions in the neighborhood.

"This Green Line renovation connects the rest of the city to this part of the city," said Kamau Murray, who owns nearby XS Tennis. "There are a lot of people who come to XS Tennis who are not from the South Side, which is a great thing because it brings dollars from outside the community to inside the community."

The CTA says nearly 475,000 passengers use the Garfield Green Line station each year, and they hope that number continues to grow.

In opening the station, Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the city is "unlocking an entire neighborhood, and community, and an entire city that can come to Washington Park, and the people and the residents of Washington Park can get to the rest of the city."

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