A host of officials, including State Rep. Luis Arroyo (right) and Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle (second from left), convened for Tuesday's ribbon-cutting. Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago

HERMOSA — Officials on Tuesday gathered to cut the ribbon on the renovated Healy Metra station and a pair of new colorful mosaic murals on its viaduct walls.

The $7.3 million station renovation project was five years in the making, said State Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago), the driving force behind the project, at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Today is an important day of the Northwest Side of Chicago. … Now you’re going to have heat, shelters, you’re going to have a lot of things you didn’t have before,” Arroyo said.

Crews gutted the deteriorating station at 4014 W. Fullerton Ave. and installed new platforms, heated shelters, ramps for people with disabilities, stairs and railings, as well as LED lighting, gutters and a storm sewer system.

The new Healy Metra station. Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
The station’s new heated shelters. Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago

The new station has actually been open to the public for a few months now. But when it opened, it wasn’t quite ready for a celebration, Arroyo said.

“It was really ugly on the bottom,” Arroyo told Block Club. “Water was leaking through the bottom. Now we got gutters on the bottom so when the water leaks it doesn’t leak down to the murals.”

Arroyo said they also wanted to wait for the viaduct murals to be finished.

The murals were done by local nonprofit Green Star Movement. One honors the Puerto Rican U.S. Army regiment known as “The Borinqueneers” and the other honors the Chicago Cubs.

The folks from Green Star Movement, Cubs representatives, including Clark the Cub, and veterans and veteran advocates all came out to Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the murals. The veterans each received individual shout-outs.

“There were so many hard days and efforts that went into this, from students from the ages of 9, 10 all the way up to senior citizens,” Jordan Taggart of Green Star Movement said of the murals.

Puerto Rican veterans, known as the Borinqueneers, at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago

The murals cost about $50,000 and were funded by the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Most of the Metra station renovation project was funded through Metra’s state bond program. Arroyo’s son, Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr., said the funds “appeared a little quicker” under new Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Still, Arroyo ended up coming up a tad short, his son said. Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle, also in attendance at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, helped bring in the $50,000 extra Arroyo needed to get the project off the ground, Arroyo’s son said.

“This project — it wasn’t easy. That’s all I can say,” Arroyo said.

According to the Tribune, the Healy station renovation is the most costly of all of the renovation projects Metra has planned. The station sits in gentrifying Hermosa, not far from The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail.

Throughout the ceremony, officials praised Arroyo for championing the project and for following through on his vision.

“Since day one, when I became chairman of the RTA, Representative Arroyo was on me about the Healy station,” RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard said.

“And not just something for his community, but what came through to me was the passion for the Puerto Rican military that he wanted to remember with the murals, as well as his passion for the Chicago Cubs.”

Arroyo, who is of Puerto Rican descent, said his uncle served in the Korean war and that he’s “very, very proud” of the Borinqueneers mural.

The Borinqueneers mural at the new Healy Metra station. Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago

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