Brookfield Approves Economic Development Plan and Commission

Brookfield elected officials passed a pair of initiatives aimed at strengthening and managing economic development, approving a formal three-year economic development plan on May 9 and following up on May 23 by voting to create a nine-person economic development commission, whose members will explore strategies and provide advice.

The economic development plan was written by Cindy Klima, the consultant hired last August to act as the village’s part-time economic development coordinator and study how the village could better promote and manage economic development.

“We’ve always worked on economic development, but taking the time to put that into a comprehensive, cohesive written plan that future councils can follow and tweak as they see fit…is a very big step,” the president said. of the village, Michael Garvey. just before the unanimous vote to approve the economic development plan.

The plan is divided into three 12-month phases, with the first focusing on actions the village can take more or less immediately, although it’s clear that some will take some time to get off the ground.

Hiring someone like Klima to focus solely on economic development is the No. 1 action mentioned in the plan, and she will remain in that part-time role as a consultant, said village manager Timothy Wiberg.

In April, officials discussed hiring someone on a permanent, part-time or full-time basis to lead Brookfield’s economic development efforts. However, this is unlikely to happen in the short term.

“We have no plans at this time to hire a full-time economic development person,” Wiberg told the Landmark as a follow-up. “We just don’t have the resources for that.”

Klima will continue to serve in her current capacity, with the help of Emily Egan, the village’s director of community development and new village planner, Kate Portillo, who has been hired and will start this week.

Second on the list of initiatives for the first year of the economic development plan is the creation of the Economic Development Commission, which the trustees unanimously voted on May 23.

Highly recommended by Wiberg, who has worked with such an advisory group during his long tenure at Lincolnwood, the commission will consist of nine members who will be business owners or senior executives from a variety of local business sectors, including restaurants. , real estate, retail, tourism/attractions, finance, service industry, Brookfield Zoo and Brookfield Chamber of Commerce.

Members will serve three-year terms with the village’s director of community development serving as a liaison to commission staff.

The commission will work on projects to advance the economic development goals of the village and will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the economic development plan. Reports on this progress will be given regularly to the village council.

“Sometimes we just get caught up day to day, trying to get things done, but actually it’s very important to present it as a blueprint, as a living, breathing document,” Garvey said. “Like all good plans, it cannot sit on a shelf and it will be reviewed to progress, with measurable elements, and it will live on and grow.”

Village administrator Brian Conroy, who liaises between the village council and the chamber of commerce, stressed that the commission is not intended as an alternative to this group, but as a resource.

“It is in no way intended to compete with or diminish [the chamber’s] efforts, but to complement them and bring [economic development] more front and center is the focus and attention of the party hall,” Conroy said. “[The chamber] can only benefit from these initiatives.

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