Chicago’s Metra is seeking partnership proposals from local community groups for enhancement projects, including art, landscaping and gardening projects, at its stations or other railroad property.

“Many of our train stations are landmarks known to riders and non-riders alike,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “By using art projects and other enhancements to stations and public areas, we hope to foster a strong sense of pride and ownership for our neighbors living in each community we serve.”

Metra has been reviewing requests from communities for enhancement projects on a case-by-case basis for years. This new process seeks to streamline the program by outlining specific activities in which community groups can engage, providing an online application form and offering detailed selection criteria to help guide proposals.

Partners must be willing and able to fund their projects, although, in some cases, Metra may be able to contribute some materials or workforce support to make them more lasting and safe.

Program activities can include: art projects that reflect the unique characteristics of the local community, including murals on or adjacent to facilities; free-standing sculptures, mosaics and photographs; painting and beautification of public areas, including viaducts, columns and bridge walls; and installation and maintenance of plants, shrubs, flowers and other landscaping enhancements.

“We hope that appealing stations will foster community pride, which helps make a safer and cleaner station environment to benefit Metra customers,” Orseno added.

Partners and projects will be selected based on the following criteria: artistic quality of the proposed enhancement; appropriateness of the proposed enhancement to the site; permanence, durability, maintainability and use of high-quality materials; absence of hazards to the public; and recommended measures to protect against vandalism.