Brookfield’s village board appears ready to move forward with creating a new tax increment financing (TIF) district in and around the Grand/Prairie/Burlington commercial area, but officials are still tinkering with exactly which and how many properties ought to be included within its boundaries.
Elected officials on June 10 got their first look at the preliminary map for the proposed Grand Boulevard TIF District, which they believe will help spur redevelopment in the downtown by providing critical funding for infrastructure improvements, property assemblage, environmental remediation and parking.
“There’s no time crunch,” said Village Manager Timothy Wiberg in a phone interview following the board’s June 10 meeting. “It’s a balancing act and ultimately up to the village president and board … but you really need to do it right the first time.”
The proposed map was included in the TIF Qualification Report prepared by Kane, McKenna and Associates, the village’s consultant on TIF matters. In addition to the map, the report laid out the case that the area does meet the standards for creating a TIF District.
The village board will continue its discussion at their next meeting on June 24, and trustees could vote to accept the TIF report in July, which would start the clock ticking on the approval process.
If all goes smoothly, the Grand Boulevard TIF could be adopted this fall, but it’s possible the timetable could be dragged out if village officials decide to expand the TIF district’s boundaries.
Robert Rychlicki, president of Kane, McKenna and Associates, told officials that the map was drawn to limit the number of residential units within its boundaries to 75 or fewer.
If the TIF map includes more than 75 residential units, approval requires additional public notices and meetings, extending the process by four to six weeks.
Because the village of Brookfield is also planning to amend the boundaries of its Eight Corners TIF, Rychlicki said the aim was to run those efforts concurrently, on the same time line.
If the Grand Boulevard TIF map includes more residential units, it will take more time.
But village officials appeared open to considering the longer time line if it made sense to increase the Grand Boulevard TIF map boundaries to capture key redevelopment sites and avoid the time and expense of amending the map in the future.
The preliminary map on the north side of the railroad tracks includes all of the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard, the south side of the 8900 block of Grant Avenue and the entire 8900 block of Fairview Avenue, including the triangular property between Fairview and Brookfield avenues.
It also includes portions of the east side of the 3700 block of Sunnyside Avenue, all of the west side of the 3700 block of Prairie Avenue and a portion of the east side of that block.
South of the tracks, the map includes the commercially zoned properties immediately south of Burlington Avenue on either side of Prairie Avenue.
But some officials questioned why sections of the area in and near the downtown, which are ripe for redevelopment, were left out. Specifically, trustees expressed support for including the entire east side of the 3700 block of Sunnyside Avenue in the map and wondered if the map ought to also include portions of the 3700 block of Forest Avenue.
If the downtown area flourishes, Wiberg said, the village may want to be sure there’s room to provide parking, perhaps by building a parking structure, within the TIF district.
The east side of Sunnyside Avenue, in particular, drew interest because the section left out of the proposed map includes one property already being looked at for redevelopment.
“That section on Sunnyside I believe would only benefit us,” said Trustee Edward Cote.
If the concern was going over 75 residential units, said Cote, he favored looking at removing residential properties on the east side of the 3700 block of Prairie Avenue that are part of the proposed map as a tradeoff.
“Those don’t look like they’re going anywhere,” Cote said of the Prairie Avenue residential properties.
Trustee Brian Conroy cautioned against adding residential properties to the TIF map, saying that the larger the map, the more likely it would be to receive pushback from other taxing bodies.
“I think at some point you’re going to get some blowback from the school district in that particular area,” said Conroy, who was a member of the Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District Board of Education when the Eight Corners TIF was created. “I know it was a concern with Eight Corners.”
As for amending the boundaries of the Eight Corners TIF District, the plan is to include the former Brookfield Bowl parking lot, which was not part of the original map, as well as the commercial building at 9037-49 Monroe Ave., which the village board is expected to rezone as commercial property on June 24.
Trustees also asked Rychlicki to see whether it also made sense to include the Off Broadway Pub property at 9048 Monroe Ave. in the amended TIF map.