Brookfield may be in line for some new welcome signs at its borders, new street signs and street lights along Grand Boulevard and other improvements if it’s successful in obtaining grant money from the Illinois Department of Transportation later this year.

On Aug. 10, Brookfield village trustees approved a resolution allowing the village to apply for grant money from IDOT, under the state’s Transportation Enhancement Program. The application was prepared by Village Engineer Derek Treichel after consultation with Village Manager Dave Owen and Public Works Director William Brandt.

Brookfield’s application seeks $554,400 in grant money to fund improvements principally to Grand Boulevard and the Eight Corners business district. Although the state has the responsibility to disburse the funds to local municipalities, the source of the money is from a federal Transportation Bill passed by the U.S. government in 2000. Treichel said that the most recent federal Transportation Bill, signed into law by President George Bush on Aug. 10, may include more grant money for similar transportation enhancement projects.

State Sen. Louis Viverito (D-Burbank), whose 11th District includes all of Brookfield outside of the Hollywood section, has thrown his support behind the village’s application to IDOT for the grant.

“Considering the traffic pattern through the Village of Brookfield with Brookfield Zoo in the village, I think the project request for funds from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program is applicable and would be of aesthetic value to the village,” Viverito wrote in his letter of support to the village.

According to Treichel, Brookfield’s application seeks grant money for new entry signs at six locations in the village, including the following intersections: 31st Street/Grand Boulevard, Washington/Kemman avenues, Washington/Golf avenues, Ogden/Custer avenues, Ogden/Eberly avenues and 47th Street/Custer Avenue.

In addition, the grant seeks money for new decorative street signs along the length of Grand Boulevard, from 31st Street to Brookfield Avenue. Although no signs have been selected, Treichel said that the village was looking at something similar to the LaGrange Park street signs displayed along 31st Street.

The grant application also includes a provision to install new pedestrian street lights along Grand Boulevard, from the Memorial Circle to Grant Avenue. Again, while no street light design has been selected yet, Treichel said they would likely be about 12 feet tall and similar in design to the ones in use on the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard.

The pedestrian street lights would simply be additions to the streetscape; they would not replace the street lights already in place along Grand Boulevard.

Finally, the grant application calls for improvements to the median that runs down the middle of Broadway Avenue. Treichel said that the plan calls for taking out the concrete median on Broadway and replacing it with decorative brick pavers interspersed, perhaps, with some planting areas.

If IDOT awards the grant to Brookfield, the village will have to come up with some matching funds. The Transportation Enhancement Program grants are 80/20 grants, meaning that 80 percent of the funds will come from the federal government while 20 percent must come from the municipality. With an estimated total cost of $693,000 for the improvements, Brookfield would be on the hook for $138,600 of that total.

While no money has been budgeted for such improvements in the current fiscal year’s budget, Treichel said the earliest work could begin on the improvements would be sometime in 2006, and not until first- and second-phase engineering studies had been completed. Brookfield ought to get word on its application for the grant money by December, Treichel added.