The City of Brookfield is located in North Central Missouri’s Linn County is situated at the intersection of U.S. Highways 36 and 11. A long-awaited upgrade of Highway 36 was completed in 2010 making this major transportation corridor four-lane from Kansas to the Illinois state line. This region of the state has been shaped by production agriculture and manufacturing. Brookfield is the largest city in Linn County with a population of 4,542 (2010 Census Bureau) and serves as the county’s major center for commerce and industry, education, and healthcare. For over 100 years Brookfield and Linn County have been home to a number of manufacturing businesses providing more manufacturing employment opportunities than most counties in North Central Missouri. Shifts in manufacturing employment globally suggest this to be a critically important issue as manufacturing and agriculture continue to serve as Brookfield’s economic engines.
If you drive down the Main Street of Brookfield today, you might say to yourself, “there is nothing special about this town”, and on the surface, you may be right. Engaging in an asset-based community development initiative forces us to identify the weaknesses and barriers of our long term success but it compels us to re-prioritize our efforts and approach our future with a sense of pride in what we DO have in this community rather than what we don’t…..working from our strengths instead of our limitations. We have departed from the traditional “smokestack” chasing and begun to focus on entrepreneurship. Simply put, our citizens have begun to engage and take responsibility for building a better Brookfield. The results of this change in attitude have been most encouraging. By connecting the community “dots” through our public/private partnership, we now have in place a network that is stronger and provides better community-wide representation. The better the representation, the better the buy-in…the better the buy-in, the better the results.
When asked by other communities, “what is Brookfield’s secret,” we simply state that the answers are simple, but the work is hard. It is really all about just getting along, communicating, honing our network, and owning the outcome. Government and business; education and healthcare; young and old; leaders and supporters; local, regional, and state; all working together to achieve a common goal.