Brown Deer - Village President Carl Krueger paused to turn and look back, his breath curling up through the frigid morning air in pale wisps.
"We've got to stay together as a group here," he called back cheerfully to Jane Lassac of Brown Deer and Mike Weiss of River Hills as they clambered over a hard-frozen pile of snow.
The three of them had ventured out into the cold on Saturday to explore the Brown Deer Road corridor from Village Hall to the village limits in the first installment of what has been dubbed "Carl's Crusade," tours of interesting sections of the village led by Krueger himself to promote village awareness and fitness.
Given the pace Krueger set, he's got that second part handled.
The roughly mile-long stretch of Brown Deer Road, Krueger pointed out along the way, plays host to a sizable share of Brown Deer's economic engine, with property values ranging from $600,000 to more than $15 million - $40 million in total, or about 5 percent of the village's assessed value.
"When you hear the values and the impact that this Brown Deer corridor has on the village, it's amazing," Krueger said.
Among the properties along the way are manufacturers like Tapco, mixed-used leased properties, the Marriott, and a number of retail centers like Walgreens and American TV.
Of special interest to the village is the former Lowe's building on the 6300 block, in which the village invested $3 million dollars through tax incremental financing. That amount, Krueger said, will need to be taken into consideration as the village courts prospective tenants or developers.
"It's pretty good," Krueger said regarding the health of the business corridor, "and we want to keep it that way."
Two more crusades are scheduled in the run up to the annual Deer Run 5K/Walk on April 27.
The first, scheduled March 9, starts at the Village Library and circles the School District campus, focusing on school upgrades, 60th Street improvements, and the Dean Road sidewalk project. The second, set for April 6, begins at the North Shore Fire Department headquarters and circle the Original Village area, outlining the upcoming improvements and development potential for the area.
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