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From grimy to shiny!

In exchange for advertising and naming rights, The City of Chicago has agreed to let Apple renovate a dilapidated train station at North and Clybourn. The rehab will cost Apple approximately $4 million, according to Thomas Corfman of AdAge.com, who broke the story. The plan coincides with Apple’s new store slated to open in the area.

Folks, I love this idea. Unlike selling out a beloved institution like Soldier Field, Wrigley Field and the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower), the financially strapped city of Chicago can save or make money via its numerous, often decrepit train stations.

As I understand it, the station stays essentially the same, only now it will be cleaned and fixed as well as tricked out by some of the coolest ads on the planet.

Like a lot of cities and towns, Chicago is in financial trouble. Mayor Daley has announced he will be dipping into our cash reserves to mitigate the huge and growing deficit. We already pay higher state taxes than almost anyone else in the country. Under these trying circumstances, I say, go for it! Sell all the stations you can.

Station domination by Apple (or anyone) won’t end Chicago’s financial crisis but it’s that rare solution without a conspicuous downside –or one that I can see, anyway. And, as I stated earlier, commercializing an “L” stop won’t offend the romantic sensibilities of our citizenry. On the contrary, it might make visiting these places less gruesome and maybe even fun.

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