Roseland residents want CTA answers on Red Line extension plans

SHARE Roseland residents want CTA answers on Red Line extension plans

A Roseland resident whose home could be among 259 parcels to be condemned under one Red Line extension plan said Wednesday she would not want to live near “screeching” trains and asked for the “formula” the CTA will use to value seized property.

Elena Calloway was among a group of Roseland residents who said they have been unable to get a straight answer from the CTA on how their homes will be valued if their property winds up being condemned.

Under one plan to extend the Red Line to 130th Street, Calloway said, her home would be confronted with “screeching trains that may run every 20 minutes, the possibility of elevated tracks allowing full view of my property and the total loss of peace.’’

Calloway, 64, told CTA board members Wednesday that “I would not want to live in that environment,’’ particularly because she shares her home with a “partially demented mother,’’ a disabled husband, and three children — two of them disabled.

Calloway’s comments were among the first concerns raised at a CTA board meeting about the massive condemnations that could be required under the CTA’s $2.3 billion plan to extend the end of the Red Line from 95th Street to 130th. Four alternatives are under consideration, but one of the “preferred” ones would require seizure of up to 259 parcels — 95 of them residential.

CTA Chairman Terry Peterson told Calloway the CTA was “not at the stage yet to talk about what’s going to be the formula or what’s going to be the process for acquisition.’’

And CTA board member Jackie Grimshaw said living next to an elevated train may not be as bad as Calloway thinks.

“I grew up next to what is now the Green Line,’’ Grimshaw said. “It’s something that’s in the background. You get used to it. We slept through it and played through it. I studied through it.’’

CTA President Forrest Claypool explained to reporters later that the process of acquiring condemned property is established by the federal government and does not involve a “formula.’’ The federal rules are applied “uniformly and we’d be happy to share them with her when the time comes,’’ Claypool said.

To establish the fair market value of a condemned home, CTA spokesmen said, the property owner would arrange one appraisal and the CTA and federal government would arrange a second. If a homeowner owes more than the house is worth, they said, the homeowner could ultimately get the higher of the original purchase price or the current market value.

But CTA officials cautioned that any condemnations are several years off because the CTA still must jump through several hoops before federal funding is secured and also must find a local match in funding.

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