One of the great disappointments of the past decade and a half in Brookfield was the decision made in the early 2000s to essentially starve the Department of Parks and Recreation.
It’s not that the village didn’t invest in parks during that time. Ehlert Park was enlarged and large areas of it improved and renovated. Kiwanis Park underwent a major overhaul and got a swanky new band shell as well as other amenities.
But the investments were largely physical. Investments in people to direct and execute programming largely remained flat. And while Mary Pezdek and Arlene Rovner worked tirelessly during those lean years to bring recreation programs and events to residents, their ability to deliver was hampered by a lack of real backing by village officials.
The decision to hire a bona fide director for the department has done wonders. It has sent a message that recreation is important and has freed up that director, Stevie Ferrari, to spread her wings and seek out a wealth of new programs and events for residents to enjoy all year round.
Frankly, we hope she can keep pace with all of the changes she seeks to implement, because that is one hefty to-do list. And as far as additional hands to help her, that funding hasn’t materialized.
Where that money may end up coming from, at least in part, is from increased revenues all the new programming will bring in.
In any case, it’s exciting for the village of Brookfield to be investing new energy into recreation programming. The residents deserve it.