I remembered why I love living in Brookfield while attending the recent Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

A highlight for me was the focus on “being green” in our new library planning and development process. The principles of promoting green technology have been evident in our village for years with updating codes, the Brookfield Conservation Commission, Project NICE, Meet the Creek and again in the recent public hearing. 

Those values were promoted by residents in the first public meetings held by the library about what patrons want in a new building. The citizens’ concerns about including green elements were validated by the Library Board of Trustees and were the dominant concerns being discussed by the commissioners.

Sure there was debate about the details, but at the public hearing there was also evidence of listening and exchange of perceptions and concerns. There were also exchanges of references for resource data.

Another highlight for me at this hearing was the amount of community participation. The Planning and Zoning Commission chairman thanked the citizens for coming out and validated the importance of their participation. Through community meetings in the planning process and more recently in the community engagement meetings, the library has promoted extensive community participation over several years.

The gifts of democracy are sought by many people around the world reflected by the number of immigrants coming to our shores. But democracy depends on community participation. We get what we work for. I appreciate our village’s many efforts on a variety of fronts for keeping people engaged.

I have two suggestions for enhancing that level of resident participation. First, to publicize in every way the village can the topics on the agenda for government meetings. Second, install an amplifying system so the public can hear the commissioners and the public comments better.

Thanks again for the opportunities to participate and make the democracy we have work for our residents.

Sandra Baumgardner