A couple of the fine details still need to be worked out but at their meeting on April 10, Brookfield trustees are expected to approve an agreement with the Metra commuter rail service to place two warming shelters at the Hollywood Avenue-Zoo stop on the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad route.
The new shelters would be set on new concrete pads located on both the inbound and outbound platforms east of the existing Brookfield Zoo-built and painted “mushroom” shelters, which are not heated. There’s also an unheated gazebo on the outbound platform west of the existing shelter.
Drawings of the proposed shelters submitted to the village by Metra indicate the 14-foot-tall brick and aluminum-framed warming shelters would be enclosed by quarter-inch thick tempered glass walls on all four sides, with doors at either end.
Inside each shelter will be a bench, two wall-mounted heaters and BNSF route information signage. The roof of each shelter will extend about 6 feet past the east and west walls to form a covered outdoor area for commuters.
According to the terms of the agreement, Metra would bear all of the costs for designing and constructing the shelters – an amount pegged at $157,000 apiece.
The agreement calls for the village of Brookfield to assume responsibility for maintaining the shelters, such as removing graffiti, making routine repairs and cleaning them.
Before giving their blessing to the shelters, trustees at their meeting March 27 wondered whether the village would be responsible for costs such as electricity to power the shelters. Trustee Brian Conroy also wanted to know who would be responsible for removing the warming shelters if the Zoo Stop were ever to close. There is no plan to close the station at this time.
The reason for those questions is because the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo, already is responsible for maintaining the Zoo Stop platforms, including upkeep of the existing shelters and snow plowing.
The language of the new agreement appeared to indicate that Brookfield would take on general maintenance responsibilities for the platform, which trustees did not want to sign off on.
Emily Egan, the village’s community development director, said she had already discussed that language with Metra and that the commuter rail service is aware of the zoo’s maintenance responsibilities, which she said would continue. Maintenance of the new warming shelters, however, could fall on the village’s shoulders.
“This agreement is not to supersede any previous agreement,” Egan said. “The zoo is currently maintaining [the platforms] and they would continue to do so. But that is certainly some language we can clarify.”
Despite the lingering questions, Conroy said he favored the improvement.
“One of Brookfield’s unique assets is the fact that we do have three Metra stops,” Conroy said. “Any investment that goes into any of those stops and keeps them viable for the future is a good move and helps make our community that much more appealing.”