Brookfield tykes could be splashing around in a zero-depth water park in Jaycee/Ehlert Park as early next summer if the village’s Playground and Recreation Commission can convince the village board to appropriate funds for its construction.
Last week, commission members agreed to seek a study that would provide cost estimates for the splash park. It remained unclear, however, just who would complete the study. In the past, the commission has leaned on the planning firm of Thompson Dyke and Associates for park redesign projects. However, at a meeting of the Recreation Commission on Aug. 2, Michael Towner, the village board’s liaison to the commission, suggested that any decision on hiring a planner for the study should be run past Village Manager Riccardo Ginex.
“We should move forward on the study,” said Commissioner Diane McClellan, who urged her colleagues to move the process forward instead of putting the item back on the agenda for future discussion. “We need the professionals to come to the table so we can move this forward.”
Commissioners said they believed that the 2006-07 village budget had set aside at least $10,000 for the completion of a zero-depth pool study. However, the final budget approved by village trustees shows that just $5,000 was allocated for the study.
The splash park, a pet project of Towner’s, would be in addition to a planned redevelopment of Jaycee/Ehlert Park. The park is on the south side of Brookfield and is roughly bounded by Shields and Gerritsen avenues on the north and south and Prairie and Elm avenues on the east and west.
Most of the redevelopment would occur on the eastern half of the park, a 5.67-acre portion of which was purchased in 2004 from Brookfield-Lyons School District 103. Since buying the land for $2.15 million, Brookfield has received nearly $400,000 in federal grant funding to redevelop the land. The village must match the grant amount and must begin redevelopment next spring.
The splash park, geared toward toddlers and younger children, is not part of that redevelopment plan. The splash pad is tentatively planned to occupy land on the western edge of the park, roughly at the intersection of Elm and Congress Park avenues. Commissioners were unsure just how big the splash park would end up being.
Commissioners were also unsure what the final cost of building such a feature in Ehlert Park would be. Mary Pezdek, program coordinator for the Brookfield Recreation Department, added that the cost of bringing the water service to the park might prove costly. The cost of the park would also depend on square footage and the type of features included in the plan. Towner indicated that the board might approve a project in the $125,000 to $150,000 range.
“With Ehlert Park, you have to put in all the water [service],” Pezdek said. “That’s a huge amount of money right there. It’ll be interesting to see what the engineering costs to get the water there would be.”
Village Engineer Derek Treichel said that he had not been asked to do any preliminary engineering for the splash park and, since his firm, Hancock Engineering, had never built a splash park, couldn’t venture a guess as to how much it might cost to complete.