After 91 years at the corner of 3541 Park Ave., the former Brookfield United Methodist Church succumbed to the giant claw of a yellow excavator – but not before a little drama late on the first day of the demolition effort.

While taking down a portion of the church around 3:30 p.m. on July 11, the excavator slid into the basement of the church, causing it to tip over, according to Brookfield police. The driver, a 44-year-old Barrington Hills man, was not injured and a towing company was able to pull the excavator upright.

Apart from that hiccup, the demolition of the church was routine, taking about three days for the building to come down completely. Several of the crucifixes from the church have been offered to the Methodist Church, according to Kimberly Coughran, director of the Brookfield Public Library, which owns the property.

The cornerstone of the building, on which the church’s dedication date is inscribed, was kept by the library, said Coughran.

Taking down the building was just the first step in a four-week demolition process, which will also include removing an underground storage tank used for heating oil, sifting the demolition debris and then backfilling the site. The lot will be covered with topsoil and seeded this fall.

According to a press release issued last week, the property will be used in 2014 for programming and for events related to the library’s 100th anniversary celebration next June.

Eventually, the plan is to build a new library on the property, a process already in the works. The plan has received preliminary approval from the Brookfield village board. Library officials are huddling with a financial advisor, Linda Matkowski of Indianapolis-based City Securities, to discuss future needs and put a new library “on a path toward future feasibility,” according to Coughran.

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