By Bob Uphues
Brookfield's Community and Economic Development Department plans to undertake a comprehensive land use plan and marketing analysis of Ogden Avenue in 2020, creating what officials hope will be a roadmap for remaking the streetscape and revitalizing the village's busiest commercial corridor.
According to information included as part of the village board's 2020 budget workshop on Nov. 14, officials have applied for a Local Technical Assistance grant from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) for the effort, and tentatively have planned to earmark $100,000 from the Ogden Avenue Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in next year's budget to pay for the initiative.
"The consulting costs would be to develop a right-of-way improvement plan for Ogden," said Village Manager Timothy Wiberg. "Once you have that plan, then we can shop it around for ... big federal, multimillion dollar grants to have that Ogden Avenue corridor completely redone."
If the village is successful in obtaining a Local Technical Assistance grant from CMPA, those consulting costs largely would be covered by that grant. Brookfield's application was one of 81 such requests for CMAP's assistance during its latest call for projects in October.
The planning agency is expected to announce the grant recipients next spring. Brookfield's application notes that the Ogden Avenue sub-area was specifically called out for additional planning in the Brookfield Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted in 2018. The comprehensive plan also was funded through CMAP's Local Technical Assistance Program.
"The Ogden Avenue Land Use Plan will provide a compelling vision for the future of the sites in terms of the 'highest and best use' for each site, including development potential, land use, streetscape and urban design potential,' Brookfield's latest CMAP application stated.
The challenges for redeveloping Ogden Avenue are well known to anyone who has traveled down the busy state highway.
During the Nov. 14 budget workshop, Wiberg said through the decades private property owners have essentially "commandeered" the public parkway along Ogden Avenue for parking, and that local officials would like to wrest back control of that right-of-way, and construct a streetscape that includes grass and trees while addressing parking at the same time.
"We can't just willy-nilly get rid of that parking," Wiberg said. "We have to find other places to put parking in. It may involve the study recommending lots to buy to convert into parking … to trade off the parking that we lose. … In other words, it will help us re-commandeer the right-of-way."
While Ogden Avenue is a state highway, Wiberg said he had managed a similar effort on Touhy Avenue while village manager in Lincolnwood. He said the village would be able to partner with the Illinois Department of Transportation on the project.
However, such a project would be impossible, he said, unless the village takes the effort to create a comprehensive plan first.
"The state likes it when municipalities do this, because they don't want to do all this work," Wiberg said. "They want us to do it, but they'll fund their portion of it."
Ross Klicker, the village's new community development director, said creating a land use plan, which would also entail a look at the zoning along Ogden Avenue, is an effort that would take six to nine months "at a minimum."
He also indicated that he would advocate for beginning the land use plan effort in 2020 whether or not the village obtains grant funding from CMAP.
"Everyone says they want to see retail development on Ogden Avenue," Klicker said. "But what does that mean to property owners, the village and existing businesses? We want to be able to say, 'This is agreed on.' … Then we'll have a visualization of what we want out there to market."