Downtown Brookfield could be in line for a facelift if the village is successful in landing a $635,000 state grant later this year.
Brookfield is seeking the money through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) to make improvements along the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard and on parts of Prairie and Fairview avenues, including new sidewalks accented by brick pavers, new street lights and appropriately scaled trees.
Because the grant requires a match by the village, Brookfield would have to chip in about $150,000 toward the project if it receives the award.
According to Village Engineer Derek Treichel, the application deadline is May 30. The state expects to announce the grant awards in October. That means engineering and design work for the project would be completed in 2013, but actual construction wouldn’t happen until the spring of 2014.
The previous major upgrade of the Grand Boulevard streetscape came in the early 1990s, said Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral.
“The last time a project was done was about 20 years ago,” said Sbiral. “The vegetation is overgrown and some of the [tree] grates have heaved. It’s not consistent with what we have on Broadway[Avenue], and it’s showing signs of age, so we figured this might be a good time to do it.”
In 2007, Brookfield received a $360,000 ITEP grant to fund improvements to the Eight Corners business district and enabled the village to place new “Welcome to Brookfield” signs at various spots in the village.
The latest grant proposal also includes a $60,000 request to erect a large welcome sign and complete landscaping on a pie-shaped lot owned by the village at the corner of 31st Street and Grand Boulevard.
According to a memo from Sbiral to the village board discussed at the village board’s regular business meeting on May 14, the existing sidewalks in the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard would be replaced by brick pavers to give it “a more attractive look and help soften the appearance of the business district.”
The parkway areas on Grand and a portion of Prairie Avenue would also be removed. Next to the curb there would be a 2-foot-wide strip of brick pavers, with a concrete sidewalk between the main sidewalk and the brick pavers.
“This will provide a more attractive and uniform look to the business district similar to what currently exists on Broadway Avenue,” Sbiral stated in the memo.
In addition, the plan would include a mid-block “bump-out” on each side of the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard, also paved with brick. The bump-outs would be similar to those found elsewhere on Grand Boulevard, which shorten the distance pedestrians need to walk to cross the busy street.
While a style has not been selected for new light posts (the most expensive line item in the application at $265,000), they would have electrical outlets placed directly on the poles. Currently, outlets along the street, located in the ground-level tree grates, have been damaged by tree roots.
Treichel said the plan also calls for planting 16 new trees in the business district. Any existing trees would be removed and replaced. Only a half dozen or so remain from the previous improvement project.
“One of the problems with the project on Grand in the ’90s was that some of the trees were probably not appropriately-sized trees,” Treichel said. “If you look at the trees on Broadway, they are much more appropriately sized than some of the trees on Grand. They’re 10-inch diameter trees that are 30 feet tall, and that’s too big for that sort of business district.”