Brookfield trustees said they have set recreation and the cemetery as the two priority areas for spending a $100,000 grant from AEP Ohio, and secured $35,000 in matching funds from the Strimbu Memorial, O’Brien Children Memorial and Kirila Family foundations.

The trustees set the priorities June 7, then announced specific projects July 2.

Those projects and an estimate of their costs are:

  • Upgrade the changeable copy sign on the township green to an electronic message board, $20,000. Brookfield Rotary Club installed the sign now at the Brookfield Center green, and member Daniel Briceland posts events on it. The trustees plan to take over those duties and noted the message could be changed from a computer, and the sign company could troubleshoot any problems through an internet connection, said Trustee Dan Suttles.
  • Install an electronic security gate at Brookfield Township Community Park, $15,000. The gate will be on a timer and will open and close automatically, said Trustee Ron Haun. Only the police and park personnel would have the access codes to get into the park after hours.
  • Upgrade the electric service at the park, $55,000. Electric service will be extended to the back of the park and have enough power to support lights at the ball fields, electric service at the pavilions and concerts and vendor trucks at the back of the park, Haun said. This project just upgrades the service and does not include the installation of lights or extensions to pavilions, he said.
  • Replace the chain link fence at Brookfield Township Cemetery with a decorative one, $15,000. Fiscal Officer Dena McMullin said the cemetery’s look should be more in keeping with the historical feel of the green in Brookfield Center and the buildings around it.
  • Install a columbarium to house cremation remains at the cemetery, $25,000.

The AEP grant became available when trustees chose AEP to provide electricity to residents under an aggregation program that locks in rates for three years, Haun said. Residents can opt out and sign up with another electricity provider. There are strings attached to the grant, such as the money can’t be placed in the general fund and used for operations or salaries, Suttles said.

The trustees met June 7 and decided to allocate $60,000 of the AEP money to recreation and $40,000 to the cemetery because “The other departments get some sort of levy money,” Haun said.

While the cemetery earns money from lot sales and grave opening and closing costs, its’ income can fluctuate wildly from year to year. The park is solely funded from the general fund.

After deciding how to spend the AEP money, trustees applied to the foundations for matching funds.

“It’s things that need to get done that probably wouldn’t get done” without grant funding, Haun said of the chosen projects. “It’s going to be long-lasting” projects.

“Everybody’s going to be able to benefit from this,” he said.