In another sign that Brookfield’s plan to “energize” Ogden Avenue is beginning to pay dividends, a pair of true destination businesses are on the radar at each end of the busy commercial strip.

Instead of paint stores and auto parts retailers, the latest two businesses are more along the lines of what village officials envisioned when they launched their Ogden Avenue Corridor Study during the midst of the pandemic in 2020.

On May 22, the village board voted unanimously for a special use permit that will bring an adult-use recreational cannabis dispensary to the southeast corner Ogden and Prairie – who’d have predicted that back in the day? – and in March a craft brewer purchased the property on Ogden Avenue west of DuBois and apparently plans on turning it into a production center.

With Imperial Oak Brewing, the village’s first-ever craft brewer, located across the street, the 9500 block of Ogden Avenue looks poised to become a destination for craft beer aficionados in the way the 9400 block has become a mecca for video game enthusiasts.

We hope that Hop District Community Brewing, which bought the old Congress Park Community Hall at 9509 Ogden Ave., does include a taproom in its new production facility.

Their location on 31st Street in LaGrange Park, which just celebrated its first anniversary, looks to be a success and recently made the move to open the taproom there seven days a week.

These are kinds of businesses Brookfield has long sought to change the public perception of Ogden Avenue as a relic of mid-20th century America, when it was lined with motels, car dealerships and auto repair shops.

About a year ago, the village board adopted its Energize Ogden plan, which provides a toolkit to encourage the kind of Ogden Avenue the village wants to create – down to preferred building types, property and streetscape beautification, signage, taking the profusion of curb cuts, increasing pedestrian safety and more.

It’s going to take years and Ogden Avenue will never be a quaint downtown – its purpose is to move cars quickly along a state highway – but the interest shown in Ogden by a pair of destinations, sales-tax producing businesses shows that those from outside the village are noticing.

There are a number of properties ripe for redevelopment along Ogden Avenue. Here’s hoping these two examples will draw even more interest and keep that energy flowing.