You wouldn’t look at the area that makes up the Eight Corners/Broadway Avenue commercial district in Brookfield and automatically declare that it was a candidate for a TIF district.
Typically, TIF districts are large areas where significant commercial development is possible and a large “increment” of tax revenue can be generated to help fund infrastructure improvements, property acquisition and economic incentives for prospective developers.
You know, places like Joliet Road in Hodgkins, the vast former industrial parcels of McCook. You can even make a strong case for places like downtown LaGrange and Ogden Avenue in Brookfield, where heavy traffic counts attract developers.
Eight Corners is more along the lines of downtown Riverside, which once toyed with a TIF — the same company working on the Eight Corners TIF argued it was possible there, too — before deciding it wasn’t worth it (it was a political disaster, for one thing).
It’s such a tightly focused area, we’re wondering just how much of an increment can be accumulated in order to provide enough money to make it work. No doubt, there are obsolete properties and some blighted properties, like the village-owned Brookfield Bowl.
There are parcels of land which, if assembled, could make interesting sites for development. Whether they’d be commercial or residential is unclear. While the area has longtime businesses and has been a commercial area since the beginning, it doesn’t have traffic counts that make commercial developers come running.
There’s also a very large parcel of undeveloped land at Eight Corners owned by the Methodist Church, which would already be developed had not the village decided to chloroform the plan a few years back. We can’t believe the church would be very amenable to selling what amounted to a million dollar donation from a woman whose business sits across the street.
In short, while an argument could be made for a TIF district at Eight Corners, for us it’s a tough sell. Not because we don’t think Eight Corners could use a boost, but because we question how plausible its success would be.
In any case, there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of opposition to the plan from residents, so we imagine it’ll move ahead. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be a commercial gold mine no one ever expected. Or the area’s history could simply be its future. We’ll find out in 23 years.