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Local News

New trustee in Brookfield has background in urban planning

BROOKFIELD – Most communities take advantage of their centralized business districts.

But in this sense, Brookfield isn’t like most other communities. It doesn’t have one main business district – it has six.

Michelle Ryan sees the potential for economic growth in these districts. But the trick will be in identifying the unique characteristics of each one and developing a marketing plan to support existing businesses and attracting new ones, she said.

“We have 31st Street, Broadway, Grand/Prairie, Ogden Avenue, 47th Street and even a light industrial area,” Ryan said. “It really takes some expertise to develop a plan for the village. … It’s a matter of getting a focus on it and knowing where to go.”

Ryan will draw on her experience in urban and regional planning as the newest member of the Brookfield Village Board. She was appointed to the board May 28 to fill the vacancy left when Kit Ketchmark took over as village president.

Ryan’s specialty is in transportation issues. Her background includes working as an analyst for the Regional Transportation Authority in its corridor planning studies division as well as for the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference as a transportation program director and liaison with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. She previously served in the planned development division of the Chicago Area Transportation Study, which merged with the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission to form CMAP.

A Brookfield resident for 17 years, Ryan formed MD Ryan Consulting in 2009. She has been active with the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce and the Brookfield Beautification Commission.

The economy remains detrimental to startup businesses, Ryan said.

“I would say that we need to invest in really understanding our economic development climate and potential,” Ryan said. “This will require some expertise and market analysis so that we can really understand what we can do and how to go about it so that we are ready when the economy turns around … to attract businesses.”

In a previous interview, Ketchmark said he chose to appoint Ryan because of her background in urban planning. Her experience will be a great asset to the Village Board, he said.

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