As we head into 2016, it may be a good time to take a look at this time last year and check on what we hoped to see happen in 2015. Certainly, a lot of water has gone over the dam (well, since the dam’s not there anymore, let’s say a lot of water has flowed into Swan Pond) in the past 12 months.
But on Dec. 31, 2014 the Landmark picked out a few issues that we hoped local leaders would focus on. How did it go?
We hoped for a fix to the aforementioned Swan Pond Park, which was ruined by flooding early that year. Alas, no progress was made on the park in 2015. While local leaders have pledged a more comprehensive look in 2016, any plans in the works are being kept under wraps at this point.
The end of 2014 saw us lauding the completion of Phase I of the First Avenue bike path project, which was to link Riverside-Brookfield High School with 26th Street in North Riverside and Prairie Avenue (at 31st Street) in Brookfield.
State Sen. Martin Sandoval had pledged to find the funding for Phase II (the North Riverside connection) in 2015. But all of that was derailed by the budget impasse in Springfield that has held up public works improvements all over the state.
The longer things get delayed, the weaker our confidence gets in ever seeing the project completed. With the governor and the Illinois General Assembly so far apart in their philosophies of how government ought to work (or not work), it’ll be a miracle if there’s any progress on the bike path in 2016.
By 2017, will anyone remember it?
The Landmark also mentioned the 2015 election campaign in Brookfield, hoping for an actual plan for economic development in the village instead of platitudes. And village government delivered.
The building department was overhauled to specifically include economic development as a primary focus, the department appears to be engaged with the development community, key development sites have been identified, and plans are in the works for a TIF district at Eight Corners.
Several new businesses have opened on Ogden Avenue and elsewhere in the past couple of years, and the grip of the recession appears to be lifting.
OK, so what would we like to see happen in 2016, apart from progress on Swan Pond, the bike path and economic development?
Here are a few areas that could be targeted:
Let’s get going on the Brookfield pump station at Washington and Forest. It’s been more than a year since a partnership was announced between the village and MWRD for this flood-control measure.
The agreement needs to be finalized and moved on.
The lawsuit between RBHS and the village over the parking lot rejection needs to end. The money being used to fight this suit can be put to better use.
We look forward to a clean, easy transition to a new administration in District 96 and a continuation of the calm that has come to that board of education.