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A New Look at Wister Station Thanks to City Year

Germantown residents and passengers on SEPTA's Chestnut Hill East Regional Rail line have new artwork to admire at Wister Station, thanks to City Year corps members.

Working with SEPTA and the Wister Neighborhood Advisory Council, City Year's ARAMARK Volunteer Management Team (VMT) created a 1,800-square foot mural that represents Germantown's past and present. The mural was recently unveiled by SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey; ARAMARK Regional Vice President, Northeast Region Clint Westbrook; City Year Greater Philadelphia Co-Executive Director Wyneshia Foxworth and VMT members Rebecca Tyrrell, Phil LaMotte, Michael Athy, Alicia McLamb and Melanie Johnson.

"We started meeting with SEPTA and the Wister Neighborhood Advisory Council in October to discuss the importance of the mural, as well as the vision and design," said City Year Marketing Manager Robyn Lorfink. "The mural is meant to grab the attention of passengers and encourage them to get off at the stop and explore the different shops and history of Germantown."

To get a feel of the neighborhood's history and flavor, the VMT toured various Germantown landmarks. During this phase of the project, VMT leader Tyrrell found that "learning the history made me feel connected to Philadelphia."

With the design finalized in January, corps members started painting and sketching the main mural images on parachute cloth. When the weather started getting warmer in May, members joined SEPTA employees to begin adhering the cloth to the Wister Station wall and covering it with a sealant.

Coordinated by City Year's VMT members, the mural was a complete corps project. "Each of the 225 City Year Greater Philadelphia corps members painted a portion of the mural either in the office or at the site truly making this a site-wide project that everyone was a part of," said Lorfink. In all, the project took nine months and 3,000 City Year corps and staff hours from planning to completion.

The mural is just one of many recent improvements to Wister Station. SEPTA has also recently installed new lighting, cleaned and painted the tunnel, replaced existing railings and reopened the Ruff Street entrance. The work has been appreciated by the Germantown community. "During installation, many community members that use the station on a daily basis approached us to tell of their excitement about the mural and the impact that it will have on their community," said Lorfink. "Several of the community members have expressed enormous amounts of gratitude towards us for putting up the mural and showing interest in their community, a community that they often feel is overlooked."

The mural at Wister Station is one of many collaborations between SEPTA and City Year. Since 1997, the organizations have partnered on many community-focused projects including SEPTA's Eye On Transit and Operation Lifesaver campaigns and the Mayor's Clean-Up. The Wister mural is the second completed by City Year for SEPTA. In 2008 corps members painted a mural at the Millbourne Station on SEPTA's Market Frankford Line.

City Year Greater Philadelphia corps members work on the mural in its beginning stages.

The VMT displays a portion of the mural before it was adhered to the station wall.

From left, ARAMARK Regional Vice President, Northeast Region Clint Westbrook; City Year Greater Philadelphia Co-Executive Director Wyneshia Foxworth; SEPTA GM Joseph Casey; and VMT members unveil the mural at Wister Station

The 1,800-square foot mural took 3,000 hours to complete.

SEPTA celebrated its partnership with City Year with a display at the Authority's Center City Philadelphia headquarters.