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McHenry Community College asks for Metra station

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February 14, 2001 The McHenry County College Board of Trustees is requesting more analysis of the proposed site of a new Metra station in Crystal Lake, Ill., according to the Northwest Herald. Metra's Board of Directors recently approved a tentative $1.53-million deal to buy land for a new stop along the Union Pacific Northwest Line in unincorporated Ridgefield on Country Club Road at Prairie Drive.

MCC trustees said at a
Committee of the Whole meeting they would like to see a new Metra station
within walking distance of the campus.

"[We hope Metra will]
think of us and how we can access a train station in a more reasonable way than
walking halfway to Woodstock," Chairman George Lowe said.

Trustees argue that a
train station close to campus would directly benefit the students and the
college. Students with access to the train, they said, would be able to seek
internship opportunities in the Chicago area; the college would be able to
attract a more diverse faculty and a closer station could ease parking
concerns.

"If there were a train
station nearby it would open up a number of opportunities for our students …
faculty and staff," Interim President Kathleen Plinske said.

Furthermore, the proposed
station creates safety concerns, they argue.

"The current [proposal’s]
… absence of sidewalks, road configuration issues and railroad crossing issues
does not provide for safe and convenient access to MCC students and staff who
may use the proposed Ridgefield Metra station," the resolution read.

Discussion about using
some of college-owned property as a bargaining chip to get Metra to move closer
to the college was criticized, but not entirely ruled out. Trustee Donna Kurtz
suggested using a portion of the unused Gilger property as a potential station.
The Gilger property is 57 acres owned by the college that straddles Tartan
Drive and Ridgefield Road.

A resolution that will be
sent to Metra was presented and action will be taken at the Nov. 19 board
meeting.

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