Almost a year after launching a campaign to promote public art in Brookfield, the village’s Beautification Committee has submitted a formal master plan to officials, complete with recommendations on appropriate sites, potential art projects and suggestions for funding such an effort.
Ryan Evans, the commission’s chairman, unveiled the plan for the village board at the trustees’ meeting on Jan. 24. The public art plan incorporates the village’s 2020 Master Plan as well as the master plan for Jaycee/Ehlert Park, so that any art projects mesh with the goals set out previously.
“It’s taken a long time to put this together because it is a fairly comprehensive thing that we’ve put together here,” Evans told trustees.
The plan identifies specific areas of the village and suggests art, planned around a specific theme for each site. The plan also prioritizes sites and projects for the impact – high-traffic sites and areas most in need of improvement are higher on the list.
“Everything is fluid in this, of course, but we’re trying to put a guiding force on this, since is something that Brookfield has only worked in a small amount with.”
The plan focuses on five high-priority areas, but also recommends other potential sites for public art, from village parks to train stations to municipal buildings to residential areas.
The committee also hopes to develop a new Brookfield logo that can be used to unify community art projects throughout the village.
Beautification Committee members have been working with local artists, who have been using their expertise to help guide them. They have also met with village staff, the Chamber of Commerce, the Brookfield Zoo and First National Bank of Brookfield to gain support and information for the effort.
“This is a guideline; this is where we’d like to go,” Evans said. “It’s just the beginning of a process that we hope will last a very long time.”
The top sites on the list include:
The 31st Street/Grand Boulevard corner triangle
The “taxi stand” at Prairie and Brookfield avenues
An Eight Corners “city park”
The Hollywood train platform
The 31st and Grand triangle is an opportunity to create a “gateway” entry to the village, Ryan said. According to the plan, new signage, benches, planters and possibly statuary could be part of the project.
At the taxi stand at Prairie and Brookfield avenues, the plan suggests the inclusion of a mosaic statue surrounded by prairie plantings, similar to what was installed at Hollywood School.
The art there is just part of a Brookfield history theme contemplated for the Grand/Prairie district, which includes the historic Grossdale Depot and has always been the village’s historic “downtown.”
Another area ripe for the installation of public art is the triangle of property bordered by Fairview, Brookfield and Prairie avenues. While that’s private property, Evans said it’s a highly visible spot that would be great for marketing Brookfield to commuters.
“We need people to see Brookfield,” Evans said.
Evans called the Eight Corners area the “heart” of the village. As such, the plan calls for the creation of a “city park” on a triangle of land owned by the First National Bank of Brookfield.
The committee has met with bank officials and pitched the park plan as a temporary solution until the bank sells the property. The wall bordering one edge of the park is ripe for a mural, Evans said.
According to the plan, the bank is “amenable to discussions regarding land use.”
The theme for the Eight Corners area would be “veterans,” Evans said, given the memorial fountain and markers at the circle. The plan suggests a grander fountain to provide “a grand entrance statement,” banners, plantings and parkway improvements to “provide a cohesive aesthetic and entrance to the area.”
Brookfield Zoo would continue to be the theme at the Hollywood train platform. The zoo is responsible for maintenance of the train platform. However, the plan indicates that the Beautification Commission believes that the platform could incorporate the zoo’s Language of Conservation theme and the area around it could be improved with way-finding signage.
Meanwhile at Jaycee/Ehlert Park, emphasis would be put on mosaics on structures such as restroom facilities and baseball dugouts as well as the Korean War memorial and park pathways.
As far as funding goes, the committee has said that it is not looking for the village to come up with money for any of the projects. It has asked that village staff assist them in applying for state and federal grants and asking for private donations
“We are not looking for funding from the village,” Evans said. “We are actively seeking grants with the help of the village. These things can be done through different programs that are out there, and we believe that it would be in the best interest of the village to move forward with these different things and go out and find those resources so we start moving Brookfield in a direction that is more family-friendly, that is open to different groups of people, that attracts people in to take a look at the different things that we have here.”