ROBBINS, Ill. (CBS) — South suburban Robbins held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday to open a new parking lot at the village’s Metra station.

It was something Robbins Mayor Irene Brody says took years of fighting to accomplish.

The old lot was nothing more than a poorly-lit patch of gravel, that, according to some, made people feel unsafe getting to and from the train.

Robbins only got a modern train station several years ago, after another long fight.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Robbins historian Tyronne Haymoor was at the ceremony and sought to provide some context.

He said the first black settlers in the area were former slaves, who came in 1892, the same year as the railroad. But, he says, the trains didn’t stop for the black residents of Robbins.

It wasn’t until years later, he says, that Robbins passed an ordinance requiring passing trains to obey a 5-mile-per-hour speed limit.

On that same day, he says, Robbins officials were on the train, and when it went speeding through the small community, the officials arrested the conductor and engineer.

Haymoor says that incident led to the construction of a train station in Robbins, which was little more than a shelter until several years ago.

Now, they’re celebrating a modern parking lot.

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