On Thursday, February 12, 2004, a Visioning Workshop for the 2020 Master Plan was conducted at the Village Hall. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a Vision Statement that describes the Village of Brookfield as it will be in the year 2014.
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.
A summary of the written statements prepared by all workshop participants is presented in Appendix B – Community Outreach.
The Vision Statement, presented on the following pages has been prepared based primarily on the workshop described above. However, the Vision Statement also takes into consideration the results of other work activities undertaken as part of planning process for this 2020 Master Plan.
The Vision Statement is intended to be a retrospective that chronicles the accomplishments and achievements that have been undertaken in Brookfield since the 2020 Master Plan was completed in 2004.
The Vision Statement provided important focus and direction in the preparation of the goals, objectives, policies, and recommendations of this Plan.
It should be emphasized that the Vision Statement is intended to provide a brief, overall snapshot of Brookfield in the Year 2014. While it incorporates the main ideas and recurring themes discussed at the workshop, it does not include all of the specific projects and actions suggested by participants or smaller workgroups. However, many of these specifics have been incorporated into more detailed plans and policies.
A recurring theme throughout much of the community workshop was the issue of development. Participants identified retail development more frequently than any other desirable private sector led project, although residential and the mix of retail and residential was mentioned by several participants. While development within Brookfield is highly desired, fear of poor or uncoordinated development is a large concern.
A VISION OF BROOKFIELD
Since Brookfield's 2020 Master Plan was completed 10 years ago, the community has experienced the revitalization of its commercial areas, seen considerable reinvestment in its residential neighborhoods, and has greatly improved the Village’s overall identity and appearance. The Downtown and Eight Corners area have become vibrant and attractive pedestrian environments, with an exciting mix of shopping, dining, and new residential uses. Ogden Avenue and 31st Street have seen significant new development and now provide both destination and convenience shopping and services. Park and recreation amenities and programs have been improved and the Village continues to provide high quality services to its residents and business community. The Brookfield Zoo remains a premier regional attraction. The Village and the Zoo have strengthened their relationship and now coordinate events and programs, with the Village now offering improved pedestrian, bicycle and transit access and circulation to the Zoo and throughout the Village.
In the year 2014...
Brookfield residents are enjoying the revitalization of their town. The Eight Corners area and Downtown have become vibrant and exciting pedestrian environments. The vacant storefronts in the Eight Corners area have been replaced with new restaurants and shops. Both the Downtown and Eight Corners area have been infused with new infill development. The new buildings blend appropriately with the scale and character of the remaining existing structures. New streetscaping, street furniture, signage, public art, and gathering spaces help to create these attractive and unique destinations. The improvements have resulted in a quaint and attractive retail district, which provides an ideal pedestrian environment that draws on the rich history and character of the community. Townhomes and condominium developments are also integrated into the areas and support the mix of uses and overall pedestrian character. The Downtown area has become a model transit-oriented development, and represents the best of what a mixed-use, pedestrian environment near a Metra station should be.
The Ogden Avenue and 31st Street corridors have seen significant redevelopment and improvement. The corridors are lined with both large and small successful retail businesses, including restaurants, national retailers, local retailers, and commercial service uses. Along with the new development, additional parking has been provided along the corridors. Shared parking arrangements, public/private lots, and joint access drives have improved the overall circulation, safety, and traffic operations along the corridors, making them more desirable shopping experiences. Condominium and townhome projects have been developed at select locations along the corridors, adding to the corridors’ overall character and sustainable mix of uses. Established design and development guidelines have been used over the years to ensure that new development is attractive, constructed of quality materials, and reflective of the Village’s desired character and image. Improved signage, streetscaping, and entry features distinguish Brookfield from adjacent communities and create an attractive experience for motorists and pedestrians traveling along the corridors.
The 47th Street Corridor has also seen significant redevelopment and improvement. The corridor has been successfully revitalized with a mix of commercial service and light industrial uses. New design and development guidelines have been used over the years to ensure that new development is attractive, constructed of quality materials, and reflective of the Village’s desired character and image. Stricter screening and buffering requirements now ensure that adjacent residential uses are protected from commercial and industrial activity. The overall appearance and character of the corridor have improved through an implemented streetscaping program, including entry features, improved signage, lighting, and landscaping.
The residential neighborhoods that contribute greatly to the overall character and charm of the Brookfield community have been protected and enhanced. Reinvestment, rehabilitation, and additions to existing structures have increased the property values in the Village and further stabilized the residential areas. New infill development has taken place and some of the smaller more obsolete homes have been replaced with larger homes providing more contemporary living spaces. New single-family home development has been done appropriately, and new homes are generally appropriately scaled and designed to fit in with the character of existing neighborhoods. In addition to the single-family homes, a number of mixed-use and multifamily developments have been developed in the Eight Corners area, around the Downtown/Brookfield Metra Station, near the Congress Park Metra Station, and at select locations along Ogden Avenue and 31st Street. The new developments are of high-quality construction, serve an important housing need in the community, and have created a strong residential population within the commercial areas that supports the Village’s shops, restaurants, services, and entertainment uses. The Village provides a variety of housing options, from first time home buyers to “empty nesters”, helping to attract new residents and families to the Village and providing better opportunities for them to remain residents throughout the different stages of their lives.
Helping fuel the redevelopment and revitalization efforts of the community are the continual improvements to the Village’s existing infrastructure. The Village’s Capital Improvement Plan outlines the street and sidewalk rehabilitation program, curb and gutter repair, and sewer replacement schedule that will be completed every year. Having consistently stuck to this Capital Improvement Plan, the Village has incrementally and systematically upgraded and maintained the community’s infrastructure. These community-wide improvements have helped attract new businesses and retain existing ones. Residents are better served by the improved infrastructure and private property reinvestment reflects the Village’s trend of public reinvestment into community systems.
Assisting the Village with their community improvement and revitalization efforts are the agreements formed between Brookfield and the Forest Preserve District, the School Districts, and the Chicago Zoological Society. Partnering with the various entities have increased the recreational and educational opportunities available to the residents through new park sites, environmental areas, and programs at the Zoo. Special events with these entities are now more coordinated to capitalize on visitors coming to the community. Improved pedestrian and bicycle trails, local circulator busses, and new a campaign of information and promotion help to unify and coordinate the Village’s, schools’, Forest Preserve’s, and Zoo’s efforts to improve opportunities for and participation in the area’s cultural, educational, entertainment, and recreational amenities.
The natural resource areas that distinguish Brookfield from nearby communities have been preserved and protected. The parks and open space, together with the forest preserve and Salt Creek corridor, continue to provide attractive and inviting outdoor areas for residents and visitors. New development is sensitive to these areas and they remain protected from harmful development practices and encroachments. Trails throughout the forest preserve and along Salt Creek have been improved to provide a more inviting and user-friendly experience. The Village has embraced the notion that these areas are community assets, and have collectively taken on the stewardship of these areas in terms of Village policy and awareness.
An improved political climate in the community has arisen from the 2020 Master Planning Process and the extensive community involvement. The elected and appointed officials have developed a renewed sense of cooperation and political interests have taken a back seat to addressing residents’ concerns. Improved relationships between the Village and other public agencies have allowed the community to plan for its continued growth and continue to provide quality services to its residents and business community.