While the Hyde Park and Washington Park neighborhoods are only separated by the large green space from which the latter community takes its name, they can seem a world apart in terms of resources and investment. The completion of the Garfield Gateway project, including the renovation of the Green Line’s Garfield Boulevard station, which sees nearly 475,000 passengers a year, represents a step towards changing that situation. The $43 million project was funded by a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant.
“The newly remodeled Garfield Green Line station has created an iconic gateway to the Washington Park community and boosted the development that’s already occurring here,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement. “By adding modern amenities and convenient features to this key station, we help promote further transformation of this neighborhood.”
The project included extending the station’s platform canopies to provide more shelter; upgrading platform accessibility, improving elevators and escalators; and installing public art and landscaping. According to city officials the CTA exceeded its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goals for the project with a minority hiring level of 63 percent, including hiring 21 percent the workforce from the surrounding neighborhood.
The Garfield station was originally built in 1892 for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It was designated as a City of Chicago landmark in 2001, and restored to its original turn-of-the century look by the renovation project. The old stationhouse, located on the south side of the boulevard and no longer used by CTA customers, was converted into a community space as part of the project.
Renovations to the current stationhouse on the north side of Garfield included public art by Chicago artist Nick Cave (not to be confused with this guy), best known for his “Soundsuits,” which combine sculpture with performance art. Cave contributed designs for the stationhouse’s mosaic ceiling, fused glass platform windbreaks, and columns, and the exterior of the station’s steel elevator towers.