Village of Brooklyn breaks ground at new business park
Excerpted from ConnectOregonWi.com
By Scott Girard
Five years ago, a Brooklyn resident told Village President Nadine Walsten he couldn’t afford to commute out of the village for a minimum-wage job with gas prices as they were.
That conversation became a “driving force” for Walsten in her quest to bring jobs to Brooklyn, and the work culminated Friday in a groundbreaking ceremony at the new Brooklyn Business Park on Hwy. 92.
The project began in spring 2012, when Walsten learned of a Community Development Block Grant available through Dane County and the village decided to apply for $261,000.
After the application advanced to the second round last summer, a county subcommittee reviewing the applications found six things the village needed before it could officially approve the grant.
Within five months, the village completed each of those steps, which included expanding its sewer district, purchasing land, reaching an annexation agreement with the Town of Rutland, acquiring a permit for an access point to the highway and creating a tax-increment financing district.
“It was a tremendous accomplishment to be able to put together all of these applications and approvals,” Walsten said. “I’m just very proud of all of the people … and all of the work they put in to make this not only a priority but to approve it.”
Walsten said she expects the park’s infrastructure to be completed by mid-November, and she and the village’s economic development committee have already begun marketing to businesses for the lots, specifically light industry because of the proximity to a residential neighborhood.
The interest in building the park came from seeing multiple businesses that had started in the village look to expand, without any place in Brooklyn to expand to, Walsten said. That led those businesses, along with their jobs and contributions to the economy, to go elsewhere.
“I think Brooklyn is an example of how small communities of less than 2,000 population can revitalize their local economy,” she said. “It’s not impossible, even though it’s a sobering task.”