Brookfield's village board unanimously approved a series of motions during its Jan. 13 meeting that created a new downtown Tax Increment Financing district and modified the existing Eight Corners TIF, which encompasses most of the area around the intersection at the heart of Eight Corners and along a portion of Broadway Avenue.
As previously reported by the Landmark, the downtown TIF, officially known as the Grand Boulevard TIF, the district would include commercial, mixed use and residential properties on both sides of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks in the 3700 blocks of Grand Boulevard, Sunnyside Avenue and Prairie Avenue, the 8900 blocks of Grant, Fairview and Brookfield avenues and the 8800 and 8900 blocks of Burlington Avenue. The village hopes to use the TIF to attract retail and residential development throughout downtown, especially along Grand Boulevard near the downtown Brookfield Metra station, one of the three BNSF Metra Line stations that serve the village.
The village board also agreed to alter the Eight Corners TIF, adding four parcels at the northeast corner of Park and Monroe avenues, as well as only two parcels within the triangular block formed by Broadway Avenue, Maple Avenue and Monroe Avenue that weren't already part of it. Those parcels have trouble attracting development on their own, the village argues, so adding them in makes sense.
When a TIF is created, the amount of property tax revenue governing bodies can collect is frozen. When taxes go up, the extra money gets deposited into the TIF fund. The idea is that those funds would be used to promote development, and when a TIF expires within 23 years, the new development would bring in more tax revenue.
The redevelopment plan approved during the Jan. 13 board meeting indicates that, while the downtown plays an important role in Brookfield's economy, its "taxable value" has "lagged" -- making downtown redevelopment a priority. The plan mentions making downtown more pedestrian-friendly and transit-friendly, as well as encouraging more mixed-use developments and denser housing in general. More specifically, it calls for encouraging commercial development in the triangular parcel between Fairview, Brookfield and Sunnyside avenues, more development along Grand Boulevard and near BNSF Metra Line's downtown Brookfield station, as well as the blocks surrounding the three-way intersection of Grant Avenue, Sunnyside Avenue and Grand Boulevard.
Brookfield brought proposals for both the new Grand Boulevard TIF and the amended Eight Corners TIF before the Joint Board of Review -- which is made up of representatives of all taxing bodies affected by the TIFs -- on Sept. 25, 2019. According to the memo to the village board, the review board signed off on both proposals. A public hearing on the two proposals was held on Oct. 28, 2019, and that didn't get any objections, either.
Village President Kit Ketchmark said he was glad that the proposals reached the final approval stage.
"It's been a long process getting us to this point -- I think it's going to be good for this town," he said.
Trustee Michael Garvey also offered his support.
To create the Grand Boulevard TIF and change the Eight Corners TIF, the village board had to cast six votes -- but they only had a quick discussion during the first vote, voting on the rest in quick succession.
All were approved unanimously by all trustees save for Trustee David LeClere, who was absent during that Jan. 13 meeting.