If there’s one thing that two warring Brookfield political administrations may be able, in the future, to point to with genuine pride, it’s Jaycee/Ehlert Park. Despite differences on how exactly to acquire and fund the new property back in 2003-04, the fact is that the board made a commitment to ensuring park land for future generations of residents.
Back in 2003, a state grant helped fund the purchase of the land. Now a second grant will help fund the improvement of the park, which can become a real gem for the village.
We’re sure that there will be the requisite political bickering and posturing over the correct way of funding the village’s share of those improvements. We’re also sure that the board will come up with a way to fund them.
And, with that completed?”with both political sides able to take pride in their parts to make it happen?”it’s our hope that Ehlert Park is the final parks and recreation issue to become a battleground between trustees.
The current administration can help make sure that the parks are no longer the center of partisan politics by finding a way to remove themselves from administration of the parks. The first step in that process could be the renewed push to build a community center for the village.
That effort could be the one event that helps move the village toward the creation of a park district, which could remove a critical service for residents from the whims of future village boards and from swings of the village’s financial pendulum.
In a town where the Burlington Northern railroad tracks is often viewed as a kind of Mason-Dixon line, the creation of a unified park district?”perhaps with its offices inside a new community center in Ehlert Park?”could help unify the town.
In order for that to happen, however, someone on the current village board?”or perhaps a bipartisan duo such as former Recreation liaison Linda Stevanovich and current Recreation liaison Michael Towner?”could help get this ball rolling.
Both have expressed their support for establishing a park district in the past. And it’s high time for Brookfield politicians to set their political egos aside and begin working together for the benefit of all residents of the village.
Nothing could be more symbolic of a new bipartisan spirit than such a show of cooperation. And we’d also urge the Playgrounds and Recreation Commission to work vigorously to get this ball rolling and laying the groundwork to make that kind of bipartisan cooperation possible.
Recreation Commissioner Matthew Joseph is leading the charge to get the community center issue front and center, and has invited residents to come to the commission’s March 1 meeting to brainstorm ideas. Hopefully, it’s the first of several such forums and will kickstart that process.
The acquisition of land at Ehlert Park and its impending improvement is good news for everyone in Brookfield. It could, unwittingly, be the springboard to even better things.