Chalk one up for the squeaky wheel. Well, more or less.
Back in October, a Brookfield couple living in the 3800 block of Forest Avenue complained to the village board that the alley running behind their home — between Forest and Prairie avenues — needed immediate attention.
At one time, back when Brookfield’s main fire station was located in the 3800 block of Prairie Avenue, the village had paved most of the alley. Some 35 years later, the village’s handiwork was a crumbling, pothole strewn mess.
Linda and Stan Andrys argued that since the village created the problem, it was the village’s responsibility to fix it.
And in early November the village’s Department of Public Works set about to address the situation.
The result is a patchwork of new sections of asphalt mixed in with sections of old asphalt that was still usable. But the surface of the alley is noticeably improved, if not pristine.
“Am I happy? Of course. No matter what they did, it’s better than the situation we had,” said Linda Andrys, who had sent two letters to Village Manager Riccardo Ginex about the alley in July and October.
At the beginning of November residents of the block got a notice from the village that work would begin on Nov. 4 and would take about four days to complete. Initially the plan called for the removal of all the asphalt, which would be replaced with limestone gravel.
But, according to Public Works Director Dan Kaup, his department recognized that some sections of the existing asphalt were still usable. In addition, in some spots, the asphalt was four to five inches thick. To tear up the entire alley would have taken much more effort than originally anticipated.
“We thought it would result in a better product and it would save time,” said Kaup on the decision to dig out areas of broken pavement and replace those with asphalt.
The new asphalt was installed from almost the southern end of the alley to roughly the southern property line of the Jehovah Witnesses Kingdom Hall property. Kaup said the fix should give the alley another five to 10 years of useful life.
“Ten years would be ideal,” he said.
Kaup did not have a final cost for the repair work, which entailed using between 36 and 38 tons of asphalt.
While Andrys is glad something was done to the alley, she’s still a little miffed about the village response to her complaint. In her October letter, which was sent registered mail, Andrys asked for communication in writing explaining what would be done. Apart from the notice placed in everyone’s mailbox prior to construction, no one from the village contacted her directly, she said.
“I feel you could communicate with me,” Andrys said. “It’s only courteous and respectful when someone addresses you with a communication. I guess I’m just overly sensitive.”
Andrys also had complained about the alley being used as a shortcut by impatient drivers attempting to avoid long lines of traffic on Prairie Avenue caused by passing trains. She also remarked that the village was contributing to the traffic issue by directing vehicles from its parking lot on Prairie Avenue into the alley.
Those issues remain unresolved.