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Homewood to move from quarterly to monthly water billing

Homewood’s train station could be seeing some fresh paint and repairs in coming months.

Metra Chief Engineering 
Officer Bruce Marcheschi, left,  
listens while Homewood 
Village Manager Jim Marino 
lists repairs the village 
would like to see made to 
the Homewood train station.

 

Metra officials pledged Friday to develop a plan for fixing a number of problems with Metra’s portion of the Homewood train station after Homewood officials expressed frustration with the condition of the facility.

Metra and village representatives toured the facility to get a look at the condition of the tunnel and Metra platform.

Village Manager Jim Marino pointed out a number of problems, including peeling paint, leaks, aging elevators, worn-out platform treads and deteriorating stucco and ceiling tiles.

The stairway from the tunnel to the Metra platform was also a focus of attention.

Addressing conditions at Homewood station gained urgency last week when a step had to be replaced on the stairway. Joel Winchester, director of Metra’s Electric District engineering department, noted that materials to repair the stairs have already been ordered and work could begin on them soon. He said the risers and treads will be replaced.

But Marino made it clear that many of the problems have gone unresolved for several years.

Homewood trustees Anne 
Colton, center, and Lisa 
Purcell, right, talk with 
Metra Director of Community 
and Legislative Affairs Lynne
Corrao during a tour of 
the Homewood train station 

Friday.
 

Bruce Marcheschi, Metra chief engineering officer, said he planned to provide by Thursday a list of repairs Metra could commit to in the short term and a timeframe for getting the work done.

“We’re limited on what our forces can do,” he said. “We’ve got a great staff, but we’re not contractors.”

He noted that Metra has 241 stations in its system and that some are in worse shape than Homewood’s. And he reviewed the plan for a long-term fix. An engineering study will be commissioned in 2016 with major renovations are planned for 2017 if funding is available.

Lynne Corrao, Metra director of community and legislative affairs, said the Homewood station has long been on the company’s priority list for major renovations, but funding has been increasingly difficult to find in recent years.

“There is no program for rehab out there,” she said. “It’s not that we haven’t tried.”

But Marino and trustees Anne Colton and Lisa Purcell stressed that the station needs immediate attention.
 

Joel Winchester, Metra 
Electric District engineering 
department, points to 
deteriorating stair risers 
that are slated to be 
replaced soon while 
Homewood Trustee Lisa 
Purcell and Village Manager 

Jim Marino look on. 
 

“I think we should be at the top of some of these lists” of projects, Purcell said. “We have put a ton of money into our downtown in recent years, and I am so embarrassed when somebody who’s never been to Homewood gets off the train and this is their first impression.”

Colton noted that Metra, too, has a stake in making the station more presentable. 

“This is about your brand, too,” she said.

Officials ended the meeting on a conciliatory note, with Metra officials pledging to take care of immediate problems as best they can and Homewood officials sympathizing with the company’s funding challenges.

Metra is not responsible for the entire facility. Amtrak and CN also share responsibilities, and Marino said village officials plan to meet soon with representatives from those companies to discuss similar issues. 

Also at the meeting Friday were Homewood Public Works Director John Schaefer, Community and Economic Development Director Tom Vander Woude, Metra Legislative Affairs Administrator Noe Gallardo and Media Relations Manager Michael Gillis.


Photos by Eric Crump/HF Chronicle.


Related stories:
Village pushes for train station maintenance while long-term solutions sought (HF Chronicle, Aug. 12, 2015)
Damaged step to Metra platform repaired, but some residents still unsatisfied with condition of Homewood station tunnel (HF Chronicle, Aug. 6, 2015)
Homewood station renovations are on Metra’s to-do list (HF Chronicle, July 3, 2015)

 

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