Illinois Mold Growth Threatens Homewood Metra Station

Illinois Mold Growth Threatens Homewood Metra Station

  • Posted: Sep 10, 2015
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Homewood’s 92-year-old Metra train station is about to receive a major facelift due to overwhelming Illinois mold growth.

The town resides twenty seven miles from Chicago and therefore sees a high volume of commuters every weekday. These travelers were perplexed by a portion of the stairs being roped off for the past several months. Several commuters described the pedestrian tunnel and train station as “creepy” – and finally Metra is heeding their concerns.

Specifically in the tunnel, special technicians will work to resolve drainage issues and control standing water, which had been leading to Illinois mold growth. After working on the pedestrian tunnel, Metra plans a full restoration of the station. Metra spokesman Michael Gillis describes the venture as a major rehabilitation, but maintains that the scope of the project or an estimate of the cost would be too early to be accurate at this point.

As far as costs go, $585,000 will come from the Metra Board, $468,000 from a federal grant through the South Suburban Mayors and Managers association, and $17,000 from the city of Homewood in matching funds – but the actual cost could end up being higher.

The construction timeline will rely on the above funding as well as the availability of engineering work.

Homewood residents and Metra commuters are skeptical of the tunnel’s facelift, says that the Illinois mold growth is still causing respiratory discomfort for the time being, and the tunnel in general has a “creepy vibe.”

In the past, students in Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s studio art program attempted to upgrade the tunnel’s appearance. Unfortunately, a fresh mural cannot prevent water leakage or mold growth. Immediate repair work and a new coat of paint should help the freshen the tunnel’s look and feel by the end of November.

Other projects slated for the Homewood Metra station include an automated payment system and an option to pay with credit cards – because virtually everything about the station currently is ninety-two years old.

The station serves not only Metra commuters but also Amtrak passengers, including students traveling to and from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Southern Illinois University – totalling 44,624 riders in the past year alone.

Built in 1923, the station features a Spanish Colonial Revival design meant to imitate the nearby Ravisloe Country Club.

Every Homewood resident and commuter questioned said the station is well past due for a major makeover. They agree that the updated station will not only serve commuters better, but also make it as warm and inviting as the village of Homewood itself – not to mention improve commuters’ health once remediators put a stop to the mold growth and prevent it from coming back.

As for the immediate future, Metra is performing emergency repairs, including replacing the metal steps that connect the pedestrian tunnel and the platform, removing and replacing all the moldy ceiling tiles above the stairs, cleaning, sealing, and painting every window above the stairs, painting a fresh coat all throughout the station, and installing brighter lightbulbs in the tunnel.

Clearly both Metra and the village of Homewood are committed to improving their commuters’ health and quality of life.

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