A web page devoted to economic development in Brookfield that has been more or less static since it was launched last fall, will get a major update — along with the entire village of Brookfield website — officials revealed during a meeting of the village board’s planning, zoning and economic development committee on July 17.
In October, the village will roll out a new website and a new economic development microsite, said Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral.
“There’s a 10-week timeline starting Aug. 5 to do the final phase of this,” Sbiral told members of the board committee, which included Village President Kit Ketchmark and trustees Michelle Ryan and Michael Garvey.
The new village website will allow residents to pay bills online, will have more downloadable documents and have an expanded calendar section. The website will also have a task management feature where residents can inform village staff of particular hazards — pot holes, trees obstructing sidewalks, etc. — in order to get them resolved more quickly.
“The entire back end of the site has been rewritten,” said Sbiral.
The new website will be easier to update, said Sbiral, because individual departments will be able to add information (with the approval of the village manager’s office) to their own department areas on the site.
Right now, data entry is centralized and the job is too big for one person, who also has many other duties, to accomplish. As a result, information is added sporadically and unevenly.
A key component of the new website will be a link to the economic development microsite, which is intended as a one-stop shop of information for prospective developers.
Unlike the present portal which contains little and outdated information, the new economic development portal will include a database of available commercial properties, including information on lot sizes and information on demographics, the village’s TIF districts and other information useful to prospective developers.
“The site should also identify community assets so developers have information immediately available to them, like a skilled workforce, and because of our location, easier access to markets, customers and suppliers, TIF incentives and public transportation,” said Rosa Newman, who has been working as a planning intern this summer in the village manager’s office.
Sbiral said simply improving the economic development portal isn’t enough. There has to be a way to drive traffic to that portal. One way that can be done is through an economic development blog with content that is regularly updated.
Blog posts, he said, would be solicited from people who have had successful experiences developing property in the village, such as Advance Auto Parts and the developer of the Ogden/Eberly site.
“It is about generating a positive buzz,” said Sbiral. “We want to not only create hard data, but making sure we’re seen from an overall community standpoint.”