Life on a village advisory commission is often thankless, and on rare occasions almost pointless (ask anyone who served on a zoning board of appeals the past four years), service.
Commissioners do the heavy lifting, taking on residents’ and business’ issues and complaints, and deliberating about them in order to craft a recommendation to send to the village board, which has final approval.
Often the village board will take that work and advice and adopt it. Other times, commissions get the wave of a hand.
“Thanks for all this work, but we say that giant condo building looks great!”
One village commission that had consistently put its head down and come up with really solid ideas for improving its community is the Brookfield Beautification Commission.
In Brookfield, the Beautification Commission is the can-do group. In the wake of a comprehensive plan for bringing public art to the village, the commission did just that. A couple of years ago, the commission worked with First National Bank of Brookfield, Brookfield Zoo, Riverside-Brookfield High School and the village to create Progress Park, a small, pie-shaped oasis at Eight Corners.
Since its inception, the commission has worked to improve that park, adding elements to the mural that stands as the centerpiece. This summer, they’ll add more.
The commission also had a hand in moving along the improvements to the Hollywood/Zoo Stop train platform, which was reborn last summer by employees of Brookfield Zoo. Future plans call for a small herd of bison to populate the grassy area near the platform.
This year, the commission has set its sights on the area known as the “taxi stand” near the north platform of the Prairie Avenue Metra stop in downtown Brookfield. The solution they’ve come up with would be a welcome addition — a combination memorial to former Brookfield public works director Al Kitzer, testament to the spirit of volunteerism in Brookfield, and symbol of the village’s prairie past as well as its continuing efforts at conserving and celebrating nature.
The commission will be raising funds to pay for the work of art, which could be completed this year if all goes well. If you get a chance to chip in a couple of bucks toward the completion of the piece, you’ll be rewarded by a new signature symbol in downtown Brookfield.
The commission has big plans for the railroad corridor in Brookfield, one that includes a kinetic sculpture for the triangle of land bounded by Fairview Avenue, Brookfield Avenue and Sunnyside Avenue, and a public art piece at the Congress Park Metra stop, which truthfully could use a lot more than that. But one thing at a time.
It’s not a coincidence that the Beautification Commission has been the place where future members of the Brookfield village board are groomed. It’s a commission with a mission, and it gets things done.