Will the changes made to the site plan for the proposed Brookfield Public Library be enough to gain the approval of the Brookfield village board? At this point it looks like the earliest anyone will know the answer to that question will be some time in November, but getting the village board’s blessing will only be half the battle.
From purely a planning standpoint, the changes made to the library’s initial proposal appear to have addressed the major issue worrying neighbors and village trustees: traffic.
Traffic circulation in the area of Oak Avenue and Lincoln Avenue east of the planned library campus was a bit awkward in the previous proposal. The plan would have had vehicles snaking through the parking lot to get to Grand Boulevard or finding alternate routes out of the area through alleys.
With the changes made to the plan, westbound traffic from Lincoln Avenue would still be rerouted, but at least the path of travel to Grand Boulevard is more coherent and convenient for those who live on Lincoln Avenue.
The plan maintains the entry plaza, which is a genuinely attractive feature of the plan for the campus. And while the parking lot loses about a dozen spaces, the size of the parking lot was never a huge issue for anyone.
That said, getting the village’s board’s approval is not the trickiest part of this deal. While the village board may give their approval to the plan, the village board isn’t building the library and is not the body that has to convince voters to approve financing for it.
The library has, over the years, accumulated enough money to finance a portion of the project, but it would still have to go to voters to approve the rest of the financing, which will amount to several million more dollars.
There is a segment of the community that believes the library is overreaching with this plan, that the plan is too massive for the site and that libraries are obsolete in a digital world. Some simply oppose any tax increase to pay for a new library.
It’s likely that the library board will never persuade those folks that their plan has merit, and that group is guaranteed to be vocal and will head to the polls when the question goes to referendum.
Selling the village board on the plan is one thing. Selling voters on it will be something else.