Brookfield’s village board as early as this fall may contemplate the creation of another tax increment financing (TIF) district in the village, this time centered on one of the community’s neighborhood commercial strips.

Village Manager Keith Sbiral has engaged the municipal economic development consulting firm of Kane, McKenna and Associates to research whether it’s appropriate to create a TIF District for the Eight Corners business district, which stretches the length of Broadway Avenue from Monroe Avenue to Lincoln Avenue.

The business district has a roundabout at its hub, the Memorial Circle, which is ringed by several sites ripe for commercial or mixed-use redevelopment. There are also several longtime anchor businesses, the biggest of which are Tischler’s Finer Foods, First National Bank of Brookfield and CVS.

“If we look at a TIF there, we have to make sure we’re in a position to shore up existing anchors and make sure they remain strong and vibrant,” said Sbiral, adding that he may be prepared to present Kane, McKenna’s findings on whether a TIF district is viable at Eight Corners by October. Sbiral signed the agreement with the consulting firm in early August. He said the firm’s research would take roughly 10 weeks to complete.

As of Aug. 24, Brookfield had paid Kane, McKenna $375 for “TIF, EAV and tax code” research, according to the list of bills approved at the Brookfield Village Board meeting on that date.

Kane, McKenna was the firm Brookfield used to prepare TIF documents for the Ogden Avenue and Congress Park TIFs in 2008 and 2011, respectively. At the time, Nicholas Greifer, who is now Brookfield’s community and economic development director, worked on those TIF district plans as an employee of Kane, McKenna.

The Eight Corners area has a number of sites ripe for redevelopment. The village owns the shuttered Brookfield Bowl at 3415 Maple Ave., just north of Eight Corners, and First National Bank of Brookfield controls the parking lot. 

There are other under-utilized properties on the block, including a former roofing company property at the corner of Maple and Monroe and a two-flat directly south, which was purchased from a bank in July by a real estate speculator.

The Methodist Church owns a large parcel of land along the 3400 block of Grand Boulevard, including one of the Eight Corners. A member of the church assembled the property several years ago in order to build a church/community center, but the plan was shot down by the village. The land has sat vacant since.

There’s also a small triangular parcel at 9200 Broadway Avenue that’s been turned into a park. The land, owned by First National Bank of Brookfield, sits adjacent to a property housing a dry-cleaning business. That property is not currently for sale but has been listed for sale in the past.

One of the reasons for researching the feasibility of a TIF district for Eight Corners is that equalized assessed valuation (EAV) for commercial properties in that business district continue to decline, according to Sbiral.

Falling EAV was also a problem in the years prior to the formation of the Ogden Avenue and Congress Park TIFs.

Brookfield hires public relations firm

As part of Brookfield’s new effort to strengthen its economic development strategies, Village Manager Keith Sbiral has also hired Chicago-based Winger Marketing, a public relations and marketing agency, to produce welcome packets for both new residents and prospective developers.

According to Sbiral, Winger will be paid about $6,000 to consolidate forms and paperwork typically given to new residents and present them in a consistently branded and themed way. Forms will be both hard copies and web-ready pieces.

The PR firm will create a welcome packet for developers that will include an introductory piece about the village to give them a snapshot of how the village can assist them with questions about potential development.

In addition, Winger is working to formulate a social media policy for the village in order to create another place residents can turn to get questions answered and voice complaints.

The village has already rolled out a complaint form on its website, which does get used by resident, Sbiral said.

“We usually respond within 24 hours, and several of us get those messages on our phones and we can respond immediately,” said Sbiral, noting that materials from Winger should be delivered sometime this month.

“The goal is, if this works, to roll it out more widely in other departments,” Sbiral said.