By Bob Uphues
The village of Brookfield has not yet kicked off its ambitious Ogden Avenue Corridor Plan initiative, but officials have launched a parallel effort to win grant funding to design future changes to the corridor's streetscape, even though such changes haven't been hashed out yet.
Village Planner Elyse Vukelich is working with Village Engineer Derek Treichel to complete an application, due Nov. 2, seeking a grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) for up to $1.6 million to fund both Phase I and Phase II engineering for the Ogden Avenue streetscape design.
ITEP is making $105.6 million available to fund "biking and walking paths, trails, streetscape beautification work and other improvements designed to encourage safe travel across the various modes of transportation at the local level," according to the program's website.
The program will award individual grants of up to $2 million to pay for 80 percent of a project's cost, with the local municipality contributing 20 percent. If Brookfield is successful in obtaining the full amount they're seeking, the village would expect to contribute about $410,000 for Phase I and Phase II engineering.
Grant recipients will be announced in spring 2021.
Brookfield already has $600,000 in funding earmarked by the West Central Municipal Conference for Phase I engineering for Ogden Avenue. That grant was pledged as part of the WCMC's 5-year capital plan.
However, those funds won't be released until 2023, meaning the village could get started two years earlier on the Ogden Avenue engineering design if they obtain ITEP grant funding next year.
If the village obtains an ITEP grant, according to Vukelich, it can use the WCMC funds for another project identified in that agency's capital plan for Brookfield.
Even if the village does win the ITEP grant, it will be years before any construction would begin on Ogden Avenue. Vukelich said the village would not expect to seek construction funding until spring 2026.
The estimated cost of construction is $16.5 million to resurface and redo the Ogden Avenue streetscape from Custer Avenue to Eberly Avenue. Such an expense would obviously require additional grant funding through state or federal governments.
Getting close on consultant for Ogden plan
Meanwhile, Brookfield Community Development Director Mike Schwarz told the Landmark last week that an internal committee has narrowed a field of 16 planning consultants who have pitched their services to lead the Ogden Avenue Corridor Plan effort to five finalists.
Schwarz said the committee, comprising himself, Vukelich, Village Manager Tim Wiberg, Trustee Katie Kaluzny and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Karen Miller, will interview the finalists in November.
The goal, said Schwarz, is for the group to present a recommendation on a planning firm to lead the study to the village board in December and have that firm under contract and ready to begin work in January.
While the ITEP grant application for Ogden Avenue will include information on streetscape improvements like paving, street furniture like garbage cans and benches, bike racks and both pedestrian and roadway lighting, Vukelich said officials are confident the state would be flexible about making some changes to the streetscape plan based on the results of the Ogden Avenue Corridor Plan.
The village's grant application mentions the planning study as an important part of the equation.
"The design really isn't defined yet," Vukelich said. "We'll be looking to the Ogden Avenue Corridor Plan to determine what those elements are going to be."