Closed for more than two months, Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave., and the Riverside Village Office inside the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road, will once again open their doors to the public Monday, Feb. 1.
Riverside’s village offices, police department lobby at 31 Riverside Road and recreation offices in the water tower at 10 Pine Ave. have been closed to the public since Nov. 18, 2020 while Brookfield Village Hall’s main lobby, police lobby and lower-level Recreation Department offices have been closed since Nov. 23.
The moves came as COVID-19 case numbers spiked and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced stricter mitigation measures, such as banning indoor dining and drinking in bars and restaurants to limit the spread of the virus.
But, with the rate of new cases slowing throughout January and the governor loosening restrictions in suburban Cook County and elsewhere, both villages’ front service counters will once again be open to the public, as will the recreation offices and police lobbies.
At North Riverside Village Commons, 2401 Desplaines Ave., the doors never closed to the public in November, so the move to Tier 1 has not impacted daily operations there.
The Brookfield Village Hall’s main lobby and Recreation Department will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Brookfield Police Department lobby, which is also located inside the village hall and is accessible separately from the east side of the building, will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While residents and building contractors are welcome to visit the front counter, officials are still encouraging them to do as much business as possible online. Water bills can be paid online through the village’s website or by phone using a credit card by calling 708-485-7344 and selecting Option 1.
Payments can also be placed in one of the two drop boxes the village has placed in the parking lot of the village hall and at the Brookfield Fire Department’s main station at 9001 Shields Ave.
Building permit applications and other documents can be found on the village’s website under the “Forms” tab. Those documents can be scammed and emailed to email@example.com, faxed to 708-485-8090 or left in the village hall drop box.
Residents can register for recreation programs by calling 708-485-1474 or visiting online by clicking here.
Riverside’s village offices and the police department lobby will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The water tower recreation office will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Like Brookfield, the village is encouraging people to do as much village business online. Residents can find links to pay for water/sewer bills, police tickets, pet licenses and recreation programs under the “Pay” tab on the home page of the village’s website.
Water/sewer bills can also be paid by phone at 844-937-0132 using a checking or savings account or credit card.
To contact the Community Development Department about building permits or other related issues, you can download forms from the Riverside Community Development Department page on the village’s website, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 708-447-1241.
Virtual board meetings continue
Despite moving into Tier 1, a majority of Riverside trustees at their meeting on Jan. 21 agreed to keep meeting virtually for the time being, even though limited in-person meetings are now allowed.
Trustee Edward Hannon suggested resuming in-person meetings, saying he preferred the face-to-face interaction with residents and his fellow elected officials, who have been meeting exclusively on Zoom since last fall.
“I want to make sure we move to that as quickly as we can given everyone’s safety in mind,” Hannon said.
But the rest of trustees preferred the Zoom option in part because of continued safety concerns and partly because the meetings would have to be held in the auditorium of the Riverside Township Hall. Under the best circumstances, it’s difficult to hear what people are saying in that cavernous room, and even more so when those in it are physically distant from one another.
“That’s a really big one for me,” said Trustee Cristin Evans of the acoustical challenges in the auditorium. “I just can’t hear what everyone’s saying, so that the one reason I’d want to stick with the Zoom meetings until we can get back in the smaller room [Room 4 on the main floor of the township hall].”
The next Riverside village board meeting will be held Feb. 18.
North Riverside has chosen, for now, a slightly different tack. Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. told the Landmark that members of the village board and staff will convene in person in the council chamber of the Village Commons, but the public will only be allowed to observe the proceedings via Zoom to avoid crowding the room.
Brookfield Village Board meetings have never gone completely remote. Trustees and staff attend both physically inside the council chamber and remotely via Zoom, and the room is open to the public, although attendance is monitored by a police and limited if enough people show up, which is rare.