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The City of Brookfield is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help finance the redevelopment of a former historic train depot building into a coffee shop and café.
The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the relocation of an 1860s train depot in Brookfield’s historic Village Area. The historic train depot, considered the second-oldest building in Brookfield, will be moved across the street and repurposed into a Fiddleheads coffee shop and café. Fiddleheads is a wholesale and retail coffee business with six locations in southeastern Wisconsin.
"WEDC is committed to helping communities invest in revitalizing their downtowns to encourage economic growth," said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, who joined city leaders in Brookfield Thursday to announce the grant. "This project not only preserves a historic structure in the City of Brookfield, but will also serve as a catalyst for future development and investment."
"The train depot in the Village Area has always been viewed as an iconic symbol of the City of Brookfield’s roots," said Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto. "With this greater partnership among the State of Wisconsin, Fiddleheads and the city, future generations will be able to enjoy it in a new and exciting way."
"With the help of WEDC and its Community Development Investment Grant, this project was able to move forward, and will generate new interest and possibilities for the Village Area," added Todd Willis, Brookfield’s economic development coordinator.
"This project allows us to unite a historic building with a wonderful local café environment," said Ray Marcy, Fiddleheads owner. "Not only will a treasured site be saved, but the entire community can visit, enjoy and participate in this anchor site within the historic Village Area. It will serve as a landmark in the City of Brookfield and surrounding communities as well."
The 2,500-square foot coffee shop will also serve as the trailhead for a Waukesha County bike trail. The county will extend an existing bike trail to Fiddleheads. City officials believe the redevelopment of the depot into a coffeeshop and its establishment as the trailhead will generate foot traffic and growing opportunities to the Village Area, which will in turn benefit the existing local businesses.
Work on the project is expected to begin next year.
The project is expected to create about 12 to 15 part-time and full-time jobs and add more than $300,000 to the city’s tax base. The project also includes the development of six new single-family home lots, which also will ultimately increase the tax base.
WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable downtown development practices.
Since the program began in 2013, WEDC has awarded 108 grants totaling more than $21 million to 65 communities for projects expected to generate over $300 million in capital investment.