August 15, 2004

Wisconsin Officials Seek Pedestrian-Friendly Mixed-Use Development

Brookfield, Wisc. mayer Jeff Speaker and I have something in common: A great longing to see Newbury Street kinds of pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development expand around the country.

"[Brookfield officials'] vision is to create a bustling space where people can live, work, play and shop - a sort of suburban downtown with sidewalks, benches and streetscapes," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains.

"Speaker compared it to the night life he said he enjoyed during a recent trip to Boston, as he strolled along Newberry St. at 11:30 p.m. 'It's so alive and it's phenomenal to see that energy and that total mixture of uses,' Speaker said. 'I would love to be able to create that energy and synergy here in Brookfield.' "

In Brookfield, officials hope to target an area around the Brookfield Square mall with a special tax district, where revenues would go first to pay off work the city plans to conduct in the area. Only then would the money flow back into general coffers.

"The city, with the tax district, hopes to spur property owners to build mixed-used development of densely packed shops, restaurants, condominiums, apartments and office space. The mixed center would be a pedestrian-friendly area with a park-like public square south of Blue Mound Road."

Not surprisingly, there's some resistance still to the idea, which has yet to come to a vote.

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