Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Do we add Resurface to the 3R's of conservation?

City of Brookfield, Common sense

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce? District 1 area Northeast Brookfield roads to be resurfaced, not rebuilt Aldermen conclude that rebuilding won't bring redevelopment  Dec. 17, 2008

The streets in the industrial northeast corner of Brookfield will undergo a facelift next year, but the project won’t be as extensive as suggested in the neighborhood plan for the area.

After spending much of the last year debating what to do about the aging roads in the area north of Lisbon Road near 124th Street, the Board of Public Works on Dec. 9 voted, 4-1, to resurface the streets instead of rebuilding them entirely.

The city in 2007 developed a neighborhood plan for the area north of Lisbon Road between 124th and 132nd streets. The plan says infrastructure improvements, including reconstructing and realigning some streets, could drive large-scale redevelopment in the area.

The city had planned to start engineering work next year in anticipation of complete reconstruction in 2010. But with the Board of Public Works’ vote, the city can shift the $200,000 it had earmarked for engineering in 2009 toward the resurfacing project.

Resurfacing the roads would cost between $225,000 and $440,000, depending on whether Lisbon Road is included in the project, said Tom Grisa, the city’s director of public works.

Redevelopment unlikely

Second District Alderman Rick Owen, who voted in favor of the resurfacing, said rebuilding the roads entirely might not make sense, given the sluggish economic climate.

“We’re going to have a time where reinvestment in that area might not occur simply because of the economy,” Owen said.

Fifth District Alderman Scott Berg said even if the economy were sound, it would likely take the consolidation of parcels in the Lisbon/124th area to drive large-scale redevelopment.

Also, rebuilding roads in other areas of the city hasn’t exactly been a harbinger of speedy development, he said.

“The idea that if we repave (roads), development will follow has been proven wrong,” Berg said, citing Brookfield’s Village Area neighborhood as an example.

Resurfacing dubbed ‘wasteful’

Fourth District Alderman Steve Ponto, the only board member who voted against the resurfacing plan, said he wanted to see how the current economic crisis shakes out before accepting the “placeholder” action of simply resurfacing the roads. Ponto suggested tabling the discussion on the roads until economic conditions change, but his motion failed for lack of a second.

Ponto said the city should follow through with its vision for the area by completely rebuilding the roads, and said the decision to resurface could be “short-sighted and even wasteful.”

“I think if we do something, we should act in accordance with the neighborhood plan,” he said.

Grisa and City Engineer Jeff Chase said the resurfacing could prolong the useful life of the roads by 15 years or more, depending on use and wear and tear. Chase said the resurfacing would be “less than an optimally prudent investment in (the city’s infrastructure).”

“But it’s not the worst thing in the world, either,” he said.

The issue could come up for discussion again in February when the city issues bonds for its 2009 capital improvement projects.


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