Brookfield trustees agreed to keep the village’s Christmas tree at Progress Park for a second straight year.
The decision came after a presentation given by parks and recreation director Luke Gundersen at the Sept. 25 Committee of the Whole meeting. Trustees reached a consensus based on Gundersen’s recommendation to place the tree at Progress Park, though some board members expressed interest in Grossdale Station for the future.
Before 2022, the tree was situated at 8 Corners Veterans Memorial Circle. Renovations to the fountain in the circle resulted in the tree moving to Progress Park last year. Even after the new fountain’s completion earlier this year, the tree cannot be placed back at the 8 Corners circle.
Village President Michael Garvey said the “prudent thing to do” was to move the location of the tree to avoid damaging the fountain and voiding its warranty.
“Progress Park was the clear second choice, just because of its central location,” Garvey said. “People are familiar with it from last year. There’s some infrastructure in place already in terms of the anchors. So I think based on staff’s recommendation and the board input, that was kind of the second best place to put it.”
Progress Park might not be a permanent spot however, because the village does not own the land. First National Bank of Brookfield owns it and has allowed the village to use the area for the tree and other purposes, according to Garvey.
Garvey said the tree’s positioning at Progress Park last year went “very well.”
“I think it was a good location,” Garvey said. “A lot of people. There’s a lot of vehicle traffic and a lot of foot traffic. They could see it and it worked out well for our holiday celebration and tree lighting.”
Gundersen’s presentation at the Committee of the Whole meeting included five options for the tree’s location: Progress Park, Kiwanis Park, Grossdale Station, a downtown triangular site by Fairview Avenue and Brookfield Avenue, and Veterans Memorial Park.
Gundersen recommended Progress Park for 2023, on the basis that logistics at the location, like a tree stand and anchors, are already set.
While the board agreed to keep the tree at Progress Park for the year, Grossdale Station, although it currently lacks the infrastructure to host the tree, emerged as an option for the future that garnered interest from trustees.
Trustee Edward Côté said at the meeting that he liked the Grossdale site because it would be visible while traveling on the train and might attract riders to visit the village.
“I really think that would bring a nice beauty to the town,” Côté said.
Trustee Nicole Gilhooley said Grossdale Station would be a “great photo opportunity,” and its central location would tie together holiday activities throughout Brookfield. She also said at the meeting that the tree’s presence at Progress Park could detract from the nearby fountain.
Côté also asked if a tree in Ehlert Park could be decorated to “also have something on the south side” of the village.
Garvey said Grossdale Station is “a possibility going forward.” The site would require some level of investment to have the proper electrical power and anchoring for the tree.
“In the upcoming budget talks, the village is going to talk about how we might improve that whole area of the historical society and the Grossdale Station,” Garvey said.