Click here to see the plans for Ehlert Park.

The last time the village of Brookfield planned a major renovation project at Jaycee/Ehlert Park, they were in scramble mode after bids came in much higher than planned.

On Monday, however, there was no such angst with the latest planned improvement to the western portion of the park, which is slated to begin this fall. All five bids for the work came in on target, with the winning bid coming in under budget and allowing for a couple of extra frills.

Trustees voted 6-0 to award the job to Wheeling-based Schaefgas Brothers Inc., which submitted a low bid of $980,416. The company has completed a variety of projects for schools and park districts, including the construction of water features such as splash pads, which is part of the Ehlert Park plan. The company, for example, worked to convert Cermak Pool in Lyons to a family aquatic center for the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

“They come highly recommended,” said Village Manager Riccardo Ginex.

Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral, who is also the village’s director for building and planning, said earth moving work is likely to begin in mid-August and should wrap up by mid-July 2012.

“By the end of this construction season we’re looking to be about halfway done,” said Sbiral, “and to close out the project by mid-July next year.”

Work will be staged in the parking lot along Elm Avenue.

This latest project at Jaycee/Ehlert Park represents the first phase in what is hoped to be a complete renovation of the western portion of the park, roughly west of Sunnyside Avenue, which is the eastern border of the park’s southern end.

Money for the work is coming entirely through three grants the village has been acquiring since 2009. The Township of Lyons awarded Brookfield a $300,000 grant for improvements to the park and the Illinois General Assembly awarded the village another $303,000 for capital improvements.

That $603,000 is being used to match a $400,000 federal Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant Brookfield won in May, giving the village a little more than $1 million for the work.

The most visible improvements resulting from this first phase of the Ehlert West plan will be a children’s zero-depth splash pad, which will cost approximately $100,000 to install, according to bid materials filed by Schaefgas Brothers. It will be located west of the Korean War jet memorial, which will remain in place, as will the Kesman family memorial garden.

Sbiral said he expects the splash pad to be in operation by mid-summer 2012.

A new picnic shelter will be located just south of the splash pad, along with a volleyball court and two bean bag courts. The work will connect a walking trail with the one on the east end of the park, and add a couple of exercise stations along the new walking path.

A new pre-fabricated concrete concession stand, located near an existing restroom facility, is the single most expensive element of the plan at almost $240,000. The bid also includes another $20,000 in decorative accents to the building, which were considered alternate elements in the bid packet.

Sbiral said the village would prefer work on the new concession stand to begin early on so that it can be finished and in use by next spring. While the new stand is being built, the old one will remain in use. It will be demolished when the new concession stand is complete, Sbiral said.

The other big-ticket item in the project is something most people won’t pay a whole lot of attention to although it’s a critical part of the entire multi-phase plan – storm drainage.

Some $200,000 in earth moving, storm sewer installation, and plantings are part of the plan to capture water runoff on the west end of the park, which has a tendency to flood during heavy rains because the limestone bedrock is so close to the surface.

The plan calls for the excavation of a water-retention area to the east of the splash pad. The feature will collect storm runoff from other parts of the park through drainage structures. It will be planted with native plants, similar to a water-retention area on the northeast end of the park.

While a few trees are expected to be removed because of the work, the plan also calls for planting 20 new trees as well many shrubs and a variety of perennial plants.


Ehlert West Phase 1 plan

Ehlert West master plan