While the project will stretch the village of Brookfield’s funds to the limit, trustees decided in late July to move forward with the second phase of the Grand Boulevard reconstruction project in 2012.

The $4.65 million project would include a large storm sewer component – along both Grand Boulevard from 31st Street to the Memorial Circle and Monroe Avenue from Grand to Prairie.

The storm sewers are expected to bring relief to homeowners in the area, whose homes have flooded during heavy rain events. The storm sewers will add what staff is calling “a significant increase in storm water retention during heavy rains.”

“As demonstrated [on July 24], we need the additional flood capacity this storm sewer would provide,” said Trustee C.P. Hall.

On Grand Boulevard, the pavement will be resurfaced and pedestrian intersections at Monroe, Jackson and Garfield would be reconstructed to match work done south of the Memorial Circle in 2009. Work will also include patching sections of failed curbs and gutters, installing handicapped-accessible ramps at all intersections and at alleys and replace drainage structures.

On Monroe, in addition to resurfacing the roadway, work will also include widening the street from Park to Prairie, installing handicapped-accessible ramps and installing a new sidewalk from Park to Prairie.

What makes the project even possible is an 80/20 matching grant from the federal government, administered through the state of Illinois and the West Central Municipal Conference. The grant will cover about $3 million of the total cost. The village’s share is approximately $1.8 million, split between the village’s water/sewer fund ($951,200) and the general operating fund ($839,850).

In order to be able to afford such a hit to the general fund, which pays for day-to-day village expenses, the village will utilize motor fuel tax funds that are typically transferred to the general fund in order to pay for other village services.

“The motor fuel tax transfer to the general fund won’t be made,” said Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral. “That means there will be very, very significant departmental cuts. We just haven’t analyzed the cuts yet.”

Village officials are in the process of drafting a budget for the 2011 fiscal year.

In 2011, Brookfield will have to pay an additional $225,000 for project engineering. The bulk of the expense will hit in 2012, when construction begins. Work is expected to shut down traffic on Grand Boulevard from 31st Street to the Memorial Circle throughout the summer and into fall.

Trustees during the past year contemplated not moving forward with the project due to its cost and the state of the village’s finances. However, trustees agreed on July 26 that as much as the project cost, Brookfield’s couldn’t afford not to move ahead with a project that was receiving so much federal funding.

“To find $3 million in the budget over future years, that money would take forever to get again,” said Trustee Brian Oberhauser.

Trustee Michael Towner agreed, saying that construction bids remained extremely competitive and that waiting would only increase the costs.

“This has been a project on the books in some form for at least 10 years,” Towner said. “It’s time to get this done. I don’t want to take a chance on this costing more money.”

Village President Mike Garvey cautioned the village board that setting aside funding for Grand Boulevard would affect other areas of the budget, but threw his support behind the project.

“By not going forward, we’d have the responsibility of doing the entire project on our own,” Garvey said. “Instead of $1.6 million we’d have four or six million to do on our own.

“But don’t expect to find money for any other projects of any scale.”