Large flower containers, like the ones that dot LaGrange Road in that village’s downtown, will be coming to the Grand Boulevard business district in Brookfield next spring through a Brookfield Beautification Commission initiative rolled out last week.
Elected officials gave their blessing on Dec. 9 for the commission’s chairwoman, Julie Lauksmen, to move ahead with the initiative.
“These planters will going to the area as an additional exclamation point on what’s already happening,” Lauksmen told village trustees. “We think that the first impression of pedestrians and traffic and, obviously, the commuters that are coming through on a daily basis are going to see these planters and know that this is a thriving, exciting, fun area.”
At this time, single planters – between 20 and 23 inches tall and 36 to 42 inches in diameter – are slated to be placed at the northeast corner of Brookfield and Prairie, the corner of Prairie/Brookfield/Grand (outside Brookfield Breakfast), the corner of Grand and Brookfield outside Sebastian’s Ale and Whiskey House, on either side of Grand Boulevard at Grant Avenue and south of the tracks on the east side of Prairie Avenue.
In time, said Lauksmen, some of the Fiberglas resin planters may be augmented with one or two smaller companion planters to increase visual interest and bursts of color.
“I do like the trios, but it doesn’t work everywhere,” Lauksmen said. “And we just wanted to start with something and work out the kinks. You can always build on and order more if everything’s successful.”
The hope would be for the planters to be delivered in time for them to be planted up during the spring Project NICE event next April, weather permitting.
The commission intends to keep the planters outside year round, changing plantings with the seasons, including holiday decorations and suitable plants like evergreens and red dogwood branches around the Christmas season.
“We also have the Garden Club on board to help us with planting as well as helping us select plants that would go in there,” Lauksmen said.
Lauksmen said that the commission will seek funding from Beautify Brookfield, a nonprofit formed several years ago to support the commission’s efforts, to help cover the roughly $3,000 cost to buy planters, soil and plants.
Village Manager Timothy Wiberg said that the planters would be ordered through the Public Works Department and that the funding, for now, would come from the village’s operating budget.
While volunteers would be responsible for planting the pots and changing displays throughout the year, Lauksmen said the plan was for public works employees to water and weed the planters year round.
While planters will be a new sight along the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard, they’re not new to Brookfield. For many years, terra cotta-colored resin planters have punctuated the streetscape in front of businesses along the north side of the 9100 block of Broadway Avenue.
About a decade ago, the businesses all bought their own pots, which the first year were planted up by the crew at Betty’s Flower and Gifts. After that, businesses were responsible for maintaining and watering the individual planters, some of which are on private property but many of which are in the public right-of-way.
Those planters also are left outside year round.