The former Brookfield United Methodist Church building at 3541 Park Ave. will be demolished in the coming months, according to library officials, who at this time are seeking bids for the work.
On May 22, the library will open bids and begin to set the schedule for asbestos abatement and demolition of the brick church building, which has stood at the corner of Park and Grand Boulevard since 1922.
“We’re looking at a summer demolition,” said Library Director Kimberly Coughran.
The man presiding over the demolition project will be the library’s owner’s representative, Norm Eallonardo. In addition to asbestos abatement and demolition of the building, a fuel oil tank will also need to be removed from the site. Site remediation is not expected, said Coughran.
Once the site is cleared and leveled, said Coughran, the plan at this point is to seed the lot.
Eventually, the plan is to use the property as the site of a new library. In November 2012, the library purchased the church property for $589,185. The following month, the Brookfield Village Board approved the preliminary planned development for a new library campus.
The plan approved by the board, which still must go through a final planned development review, proposes a 38,500-square-foot library, a 39-space parking lot and a landscaped entry plaza. A portion of Lincoln Avenue would be closed to traffic to create a campus-like setting.
The library will be moving slowly on its plans. Village trustees approved a provision that would give the library board seven years to realize its plans.
In fact, there are indications that library officials are beginning to discuss scaling back their plans. At the library trustees’ meeting in April, Coughran reported that she had informed PSA Dewberry, the library’s architectural firm, that “the library is ready to begin the process of scaling down the building.”
Asked what that meant, Coughran said that library staff had begun “looking at the drawings and looking to assess what may be scaled down in size.”
The library board’s building committee may hear more on that topic from Eallonardo at a meeting scheduled for May 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the library, 3609 Grand Blvd.
Meanwhile, the Methodist Church this week will begin removing 29 windows from the old church building prior to its demolition. The Rev. Karl Sokol, pastor of the fledgling Compassion United Methodist Church — a congregation run out of the former Brookfield United Methodist Church parsonage at 9001 Lincoln Ave. — said the windows will be stored until they can be incorporated into a new church building.
The fate of the pipe organ inside the church is less clear. Sokol said there is no plan to keep the organ at this time. The pipes may end up being sold to other churches. The library has given Sokol until May 29 to remove the windows and organ.
Sokol said the goal is still for the congregation to build a new church/community center in the 3400 block of Grand Boulevard at Eight Corners. His mother, Linda Sokol Francis, purchased the land and donated it to the Methodist Church for that purpose.
The Brookfield village board nixed that idea back in 2010, but Sokol said the dream isn’t dead.
“We’re definitely proceeding as if that’s going to happen,” said Sokol. “We believe we have the law and common sense on our side.”