There was an awareness of the current and projected housing challenges in Brookfield among town officials while, simultaneously, support for creating a town center district in Four Corners. Acknowledging both, Brookfield officials applied for grant money to do more research. With grant funding, including one grant from the state’s Housing For Economic Growth program, they hired Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc., a planning and analysis firm, in association with 4Ward Planning in 2012 to look specifically at the potential of Four Corners. The firm produced Four Corners: Brookfield Town Center District Revitalization Plan, which solicited community input by having charrettes, focus groups, surveys, and workshops. The goal: “to develop a practical, functional, revitalization plan for the Four Corners…[with] a clearly visualized future scenario for the area with a development concept plan, market strategy, and implementation road map.”
Mixed-use development was a vital component of the revitalization plan, as Paul Scalzo, president of the housing development organization Scalzo Group, highlighted: “Brookfield is creating a downtown and, for that, you need people, retail, foot traffic.” Town officials recognized that the lack of housing options at the time was also concerning for the town’s economic development. Todd Poole, the President of 4Ward Planning, Inc., said “housing is inextricably linked to the health of the local economy.” When the housing options are inadequate for the employment base, he explained, employers either pay higher wages or the workers leave the area in search for affordable housing options and, eventually, work elsewhere.
|Click to read the Brookfield Housing Study|
Town officials proceeded with ongoing research, continued community involvement, and support of the vision. Two years after the revitalization plan, 4ward Planning Inc. conducted another study to better understand the housing market. The Brookfield Housing Study offered qualitative and quantitative research to justify the growing demand for multifamily, affordable rental housing units to both retain members of the community and attract other people to the area to maintain economic growth. Like the first study, this project involved the community. Throughout the process, Poole presented his key findings and recommendations at public meetings where he also listened to concerns and answered questions.
A Deeper Look Inside Brookfield
Next steps - Learn about how Brookfield took on their affordable housing challenge:
- The Opportunity: Focused Development
- New Proactive Approach: Efforts to Provide Housing
- Outcome: Many New Housing Options
- Challenges: Good Questions, Good Answers
- Advice for Others Looking to Expand Housing Options