It's quite interesting to read in this newspaper about Michael Garvey's plans for Brookfield. What's even more interesting is the fact that all of Garvey's phenomenal ideas are predicated on ground work that the VIP Party had to do when it took over the administration of Brookfield.
It is naive to assume cooperation from a defeated political party, but when the VIP took office, we extended our own olive branch to the PEP members of the board. Their cooperation ended in court when they tried to stop the rebuilding of Brookfield streets, a task that could have, and should have been done much earlier under the PEP Party.
As a result, the VIP Party decided to move ahead in spite of PEP's constant opposition. The result was 90 village blocks with new streets and sewers, with 20 more scheduled for this year. VIP moved ahead and sought out development groups and national chains interested in making an investment in Brookfield.
To be successful, we first had to clean up the village, another task that could have, and should have been done by PEP. So the VIP put together a cleanup and landscape program. Within a year, CVS broke ground. Enterprise Car Rental will open in April. A Super Convenient Store is also planning a facility on Ogden.
And in case everyone has already forgotten, a well know Oak Park architect has approached the Village with a unique and novel concept the "Inn/Weekend Resort Complex" to tie Brookfield's downtown directly with the zoo.
These things just don't happen in a vacuum! They take work on the part of village officials and trustees. They take leadership that is willing to listen. There has to be an aura of cooperation with businesses and investors willing to commit dollars to our community. Under PEP, Garvey's party, there was no cooperation and business actually started to leave Brookfield. Home values were stagnant.
I enjoyed reading Garvey's pie-in-the-sky programs. He calls for an economic development coordinator. He overlooks the fact that a coordinator is useless unless you have a plan. It was the VIP that pushed for the 2020 Master Plan that outlined growth, zoning, parking, and other planning requirements needed by Brookfield over the next 15 years.
Garvey calls for more meetings to get things moving. He points out that this is what PEP did in the past. And for 30 years, PEP also met and met, while Brookfield went into ruin. PEP can talk the talk, but it is VIP that gets things done.
PEP and the Landmark complain that my administration of the village over the past four years isn't "touchy-feely" enough. But when you're building a foundation for development like VIP did has over the past four years, you have to take on the role of ship's captain to get things done. And we have accomplished much. Even the newspapers not favorable to our administration had to grudgingly admit that publicly.
The VIP is proud of the way it conducted itself to get things accomplished for the people of Brookfield. We have elevated the playing field to deal with issues that really affect our village. It is no wonder, therefore, that home values have increased by 40 percent.
It is no wonder, therefore, why people are choosing to add on additions to their homes rather than move away, like they did before. It is no wonder, therefore, why young people are moving into Brookfield, causing the average age of a Brookfield resident to drop to 38. And finally, it is no wonder why PEP is embarrassed at the level of accomplishment my party, the VIP Party, has made in such a short time without their cooperation.
And what of the VIP's program for the next four years?
That answer it simple! Our party, the VIP Party, will continue to explore new ways to bring more investment dollars to Brookfield, including TIF zones in the Ogden Avenue and 47th Street corridors. We will work harder to increase the number of grant programs to bring more money for Village repairs and renovation.
We will continue to offer more convenient service to the people, like we did by opening the village administrative offices on Saturday to accommodate working people. We do not hear Garvey saying that he will be at the village hall every Saturday from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. to meet with people in person like Bill Russ has for the past four years.
We will begin to adopt policies and programs recommended in the 2020 Master Plan, a plan accepted by the village board just this past March. That includes stricter enforcement of number of apartments a building can have, zoned parking permits, and code enforcement on rehabs and new additions. We will continue to replace the infrastructure of the village, putting the street program on schedule that corresponds with the Master Plan.
VIP is also planning on undertaking programs to improve community cohesiveness like gift certificates from local merchants to young people who shovel snow, rake leaves, or help with yard work for Brookfield seniors.
We also intend to encourage senior to serve as tutors and mentors in Brookfield schools or after school programs by offering tax credits. Again, we will look to solicit grants from local and national philanthropic organizations to help fund some of these programs. In short, the VIP intends to continue to expand its level of service to assist special needs groups like seniors, young families and Brookfield youth.
Finally, we will continue to open channels of communications beyond our Web site, beyond making village board meetings open to the public via cable television, and beyond keeping my office open to the public every Saturday morning. VIP will work to automate more village services, putting forms and applications (like village vehicle registration renewal) online.
Mr. Garvey may be a smooth talker, which as a trial attorney, he has to be. But he is disingenuous when he attempts to outline his party's platform as a new direction for Brookfield. A vote for PEP would be a vote to take the Village of Brookfield backward!
? Bill Russ is the Brookfield village president.