Brookfield will celebrate completion of a new fountain at Veterans Memorial Circle with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for June 3 at 11 a.m., inviting residents to join local officials as they flip the switch on the new monument, which cost more than $800,000 to make a reality.
“We are excited to complete this infrastructure project to honor our Brookfield veterans and provide beautification to the area for our residents, business owners and visitors of Brookfield,” said Village President Michael Garvey in a press release. “These projects require a lot of work and effort, and I am appreciative to our village board, residents and staff.”
Local officials had hoped the fountain would be ready for its closeup for Memorial Day, but a delay caused by a typographical error that added an errant apostrophe to the word “Veterans” on the main basin of the fountain took more than a month to fix.
Workers ended up cutting out the ’S from the concrete basin – the word “Veterans” appears twice on the fountain — and filling in the holes with new concrete. Once that set, using a template, they sandblasted a new S in the correct position.
Public Works Director Carl Muell noted that the depressed area of the new S exposed the aggregate of the new concrete, unlike the smooth, finished concrete of the other letters. However, plans had always called for the letters to be painted black, like the “Village of Brookfield” on the new Brookfield Avenue bridge.
“We were told the paint will probably cover [the aggregate] and it will look fine,” Muell said. “If it looks good, we’re done. If not, we’ll try to smooth it out and repaint it.”
Asked who was footing the bill to correct the mistake, Village Manager Timothy Wiberg said the village was splitting the $7,000 cost with Hitchcock Design Group, the landscape architecture firm hired to serve as the village’s lead on the project.
The new fountain is much larger and ought to be more impressive than more recent iterations, which have not exactly delivered a “wow” factor. Part of the problem has been that since the first fountain was built in 1973, it has had the unfortunate habit of being crashed into by impaired drivers failing to navigate the traffic circle.
In order to prevent future destructive crashes into the fountain, the new design includes an interior barrier curb surrounding raised planter areas in addition to a perimeter barrier curb.
While the fountain looked rather unfinished coming out of the Memorial Day weekend, Muell said the flagpoles and landscaping would be installed this week. In addition, the words “Veterans Memorial Circle” inscribed on the main fountain basin will receive their black paint and six emblems representing the branches of the Armed Services – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard — will be affixed between the words.
The village will conduct a test run on the fountain itself sometime this week to work out any bugs before the ribbon-cutting on June 3.
It might not be noticeable during the ceremony, but the new fountain – which will feature a 10-foot center jet surrounded by five lower sprays — will also be lit with color-changing LED lights.
The new fountain has been a long time coming. Its design was approved in August 2021, when the cost was estimated to be a little less than $500,000. Paying for part of the cost was a $250,000 grant from the state of Illinois.
By the time work started the following August, the projected cost had jumped to $650,000 due in large part to the construction of a new sewer junction chamber beneath the fountain to move a manhole and allow the fountain to be built in the center of the circle.
The cost went up by almost $200,000 more in early 2023 in order to upgrade the electrical service and line about 220 feet of sewer serving the fountain. The village’s portion of the expense is being paid for with Eight Corners TIF District funds.