About Brookfield: 2020 Master Plan: Appendix B: Community Outreach

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PROJECT INITIATION WORKSHOP

A Project Initiation Workshop was conducted with the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) on June 18, 2003 at the Brookfield Village Hall. As part of the meeting, a PAC workshop was conducted to obtain PAC members’ opinions, comments, and concerns about Brookfield as we begin the Master Planning process. Approximately fourteen people attended the meeting and participated in the workshop.

This section provides a summary of the results of the Project Initiation Workshop. The summary reflects the opinions and comments stated during workshop dialogue and includes a summary of participants’ responses to the workshop questionnaire.

Issues, concerns, assets, and advantages that were consistently mentioned throughout the workshop included:

1. Identify five (5) issues or concerns confronting Brookfield.

The responses to this question are listed below, in order of most common response.

  1. Economic development/business development (13 responses)
  2. Need to improve roads and infrastructure (7 responses)
  3. Traffic/transportation (6 responses each)
  4. Taxes/funding (5 responses)
  5. Schools; political fighting/unrest/divisiveness; visual appearance of business districts/lack of uniform streetscape; and multi-family development along the BNSF (3 responses).

The following issues or concerns had two responses each:

Other issues or concerns mentioned once each were:

2. List, in order of importance, the three (3) most important issues discussed thus far.

As a way to rate the answers, three points were awarded to each issue the PAC members listed as the most important, two points for the second answer on the list, and one point for the third.

In order of importance, the top three issues were:

  1. Economic development (14 points)
  2. Poor infrastructure (7 points)
  3. Need to increase revenue (6 points)

Other issues mentioned in order of importance were:

3. Identify three (3) specific projects or actions that you would like to see undertaken within Brookfield.

The three most frequent responses were:

  1. Roads/infrastructure/sewer improvements and redevelopment of Ogden Avenue (7responses)
  2. Build better Zoo relationships (3 responses)
  3. Fine-tune/review/rewrite Village codes; upgrade public school system (2 responses each)

Other issues or concerns mentioned once each were:

4. List the assets and advantages of Brookfield.

All assets and advantages are listed below by number of responses.

One response each:

KEY PERSON INTERVIEWS

As a part of the Community Outreach phase of the Brookfield 2020 Master Planning Program, the Consulting team conducted interviews with 13 individuals possessing varying interests and insights in the community. In general, the objective of key person interviews is to obtain candid, first­hand views about conditions within the Village today, and discuss issues and potentials that should be taken into consideration as part of the planning for the future.

Interviews were conducted on September 17th and 18th, 2003. Each interview lasted approximately 45 minutes. Each interviewee was asked a series of questions regarding the Brookfield community. Additional interviews were conducted via the telephone for those individuals unable to attend one of the two scheduled interview days.

Overall responses to key questions are summarized below.

1. How would you define/describe the character of Brookfield?

The interviewees describe Brookfield as a residential community, providing people who work in the City of Chicago with a convenient place to live and play. Although fully developed and surrounded by growth, the interviewees describe Brookfield as a friendly community with a small town feel. As the housing stock ages, they have noticed changes in the community such as a gentrification, and a shift away from the traditional “blue-collar” worker to a more baby blue or white-collar community. Many of the interviews also describe Brookfield as a political community, with the elected political party involved in most decision-making made by the Village and its administration.

Listed below are comments cited by only one interviewee:

2. What do you believe are the primary assets and advantages of Brookfield?

An overwhelming majority of people interviewed stated that Brookfield’s location and access to transportation and highways was its primary asset and advantage over other communities. Access to Metra, Interstate 290, Interstate 55, Interstate 294, and Midway and O’Hare Airports highlighted by most of the interviewees. Other assets cited by a large number of interviewees include the Brookfield Zoo, police and fire protection, and public transportation (Pace/Metra). A smaller number of interviewees also mentioned the people, affordability, friendliness, convenience and potential of Brookfield as assets and advantages.

Listed below are assets heard from only one interviewee:

3. What do you believe are the primary weaknesses or vulnerabilities of Brookfield?

The politics and political climate was cited most often by interviewees as a weakness or vulnerability of the community. Interviewees believe the political climate does not provide for open and honest communication between elected officials, staff, and residents. The aging infrastructure, which includes roads, curbs, sewers and sidewalks, was another vulnerability stated by several interviewees. The inability to capitalize on Ogden Avenue, lack of commercial business, the poor relationship with the Zoo, lack of parking, and narrow roads and streets were also mentioned more than once as being weaknesses or vulnerabilities to Brookfield.

Listed below are weaknesses heard by only one interviewee:

4. What do you consider to be the single most important issue confronting Brookfield today?

Interviewees mentioned the aging infrastructure most often as the single most important issue facing the community. Interviewees are concerned about the useful life of existing infrastructure and the ability of the Village to finance the replacement of the streets, sewers, water mains, curb, gutters, and sidewalks. Politics was also mentioned by a several interviews as an important issue facing the community. Interviewees again stressed that the political climate in the community is not one that fosters open communication, capable of making sound, well-informed decisions that are in the best interest of the overall good of the community. Interviewees are concerned that individual agendas and the political party as a whole often result in decisions that are not within the best long-term interests of Brookfield. The lack of sustainable business was also mentioned several times.

Listed below are weaknesses heard by only one interviewee:

5. If you had the power to undertake one project or improvement within Brookfield, what would it be?

When asked the question above, there was little consensus among the people interviewed. It is apparent that the interviewees have their own solution to improve Brookfield in a way that would best benefit the community. A few interviews suggested Ogden Avenue improvements (including widened and angled parking), the creation of a Park District (including improved park sites), widening the streets and alleys, and the improvement of infrastructure.

Listed below are projects cited by only one interviewee:

6. What are your primary concerns regarding growth, development and redevelopment of Brookfield?

Several interviewees were concerned with the economic growth of the community, including businesses and industrial areas. Conservative zoning and building codes, lot sizes and parcel assembly were also mention several times by those interviewed. Two interviewees expressed concerns over housing becoming less affordable.

Listed below are weaknesses heard by only one interviewee:

COMMUNITY WORKSHOP

The Consultant conducted a Community Workshop with the residents of Brookfield on July 9, 2003. Approximately 35 people attended and participated in the workshop. The workshop was designed to encourage residents to communicate their concerns and feelings about their community during the early stages of the master planning process.

This section provides a summary of the results of the Community Workshop. The summary reflects the opinions and comments stated during workshop dialogue and includes a summary of participants’ responses to the workshop questionnaire.

Issues, concerns, assets and advantages that were consistently mentioned throughout the workshop included:

1. Identify five (5) issues or concerns confronting the Village of Brookfield.

The responses to this question are listed below, in order of most common response:

  1. Need for infrastructure improvements (19 responses)
  2. Ogden Avenue: improvement of appearance, traffic problems and business development, and Community beautification (10 responses each)
  3. Community relations- including improving involvement and communication, maintaining a small community feel, etc. (7 responses each)
  4. Political strife/need for Village Board to work together; improve some Village services (6 responses each)
  5. Economic development; redevelop Grand Avenue; need for more revenue to fund City services (5 responses each)

Other common responses are listed below:

Issues or concerns with two responses each include:

The following issues or concerns received one response:

2. List, in order of importance, the three (3) most important issues discussed thus far.

As a way to rate the answers, three points were awarded to each issue participants listed as the most important, two points for the second answer on the list, and one point for the third.

In order of importance, the top three issues were:

  1. Street & alley improvements/ improve traffic on major intersections (27 points)
  2. Develop areas by Metra (shopping, restaurants, etc); take better advantage of the Zoo & its resources; need for economic development (10 points each)
  3. Improve the visual image and identity of the community (13 points each)

Other frequently mentioned issues were:

Single response issues are listed below:

3. Identify three (3) specific projects or actions that you would like to see undertaken within the Village of Brookfield.

The most frequent responses were:

  1. Community beautification, such as: plant more trees with Village money, landscape the boulevard medians adjacent to Eight Corners, establish code enforcement crew, develop a program to help residents pay to bury overhead wires, etc. (9 responses)
  2. Resurface the roads and alleys; various traffic improvements, such as a stop sign at Grand Avenue by the library, install bus stop shelters, complete wheelchair access at sidewalks, intersections at all corners and streets, etc., and specifically, install a traffic light at Prairie & Zoo (7 responses each)
  3. Improve and expand recreational programs and facilities and promote business/economic development, including: attract new retail and restaurants for key commercial areas, create "green" businesses, create a strong Chamber of Commerce, develop a program to help residents initiate business in Brookfield, Zoo owned and operated businesses at Hollywood Station, etc. (6 responses each)

Other projects or actions mentioned twice include:

Other single response project or actions are listed below:

4. What are the primary strengths and assets of the Village of Brookfield?

The most common responses were:

  1. Hometown feel/strong community spirit
    (13 responses)
  2. Brookfield Zoo and Brookfield’s central location (9 responses each)
  3. Strong transportation; the river, parks, amount of green space and potential for recreation; having three Metra Stations, the housing stock (diversity, unique character) and quality neighborhoods (5 responses each)
  4. Good city services: garbage collection, snow removal, street cleaning (3 responses each)

Other strengths and assets that the community identified at this workshop include:

VISIONING WORKSHOP

Approximately 30 people participated in the Visioning Workshop. Participants in the Visioning Workshop included Brookfield Village Staff, 2020 Master Plan Advisory Committee, and interested residents.

Following a brief discussion of the planning process for the Brookfield 2020 Master Plan, the participants were asked to identify issues by creating a wish list of public and private sector projects or improvements and by identifying any problems or obstacles that could limit the implementation of the 2020 Master Plan.

As part of the issue identification process, participants were separated into five work groups. The groups were created by sequentially numbering participants with numbers one through five. Each group separated from others and performed the next steps of the visioning session at a separate table, working only with participants in their group. Each group was asked to describe Downtown Brookfield as they hoped it would be in the year 2014. In particular, the groups were asked to articulate the accomplishments and achievements that had been made since the Village’s 2020 Master Plan was completed in 2004.

Below is a summary of the results of the Community Workshop. The summary reflects the opinions and comments stated during workshop dialogue and includes input submitted via the workshop questionnaire. The responses are listed in order of frequency. The number in parenthesis indicates the number of times a response was heard during the workshop. If no number is identified, the item was only mentioned once.

List three new private-sector projects or developments you would like to see undertaken within Brookfield

Retail/Residential Development (37)

Planning and Development (15)

Transportation (2)

Other (1)

List three new public-private projects or improvements you would like to see undertaken within Brookfield

Physical Improvements (19)

Administration (15)

Planning & Development (13)

Transportation (10)

Retail/Residential Development (3)

What would you not like to see take place within Brookfield in the future?

Planning & Development (25)

Administration (15)

Transportation (3)

Other (3)

What problems, obstacle or concerns must be overcome before Brookfield can reach its full potential?

Administration (21)

Planning & Development (4)


SUMMARY OF TOP ISSUES AND CONCERNS

Based on the PAC workshop and the community workshop, several recurring themes became apparent. The table below provides a snapshot of key issues, concerns, projects, assets, and advantages that community members have identified.

Project Advisory Committee

Community Workshop

Most common issues/concerns

Economic/business development Need for infrastructure improvements
Need for infrastructure improvements Redevelop Ogden Avenue
Traffic/transportation Community relations/communications
Taxes/future sources of funding Political strife and improve Village services
Schools; political infighting/unrest; lack of uniform streetscape; and multi-family development along BNSF Economic development; redevelop Grand Avenue, and need more revenue to fund services
 

Three top issues/concerns

Economic/business development Infrastructure improvements and improve traffic
Need for infrastructure improvements Develop areas around Metra stations; take better advantage of Brookfield Zoo and need for economic development
Taxes/future sources of funding Improve the identity and visual image of the community
 

Specific projects/actions

Redevelop Ogden Avenue and improve infrastructure Community beautification
Strengthen relationships with Brookfield Zoo Infrastructure improvements and improve traffic
Review zoning ordinance and improve the public schools Improve and expand recreational programs and facilities and promote economic/business development
 

Main assets/advantages

Strong access to transportation networks Hometown feel/small community spirit
Affordable housing Brookfield Zoo and central location
Brookfield Zoo and central location Strong access to transportation networks; amount of green space and recreational opportunities
Three Metra stations Having three Metra stations and the housing stock/well established neighborhoods
Willingness to improve and recognizing the need to plan Good Village services

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