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Brookfield, Connecticut

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brookfield, Connecticut
Town of Brookfield
Brookfield Town Hall
Brookfield Town Hall
Official seal of Brookfield, Connecticut
Motto: 
"Pro Patria"
Map
Map
Map
Coordinates: 41°28′07″N 73°23′31″W / 41.46861°N 73.39194°W / 41.46861; -73.39194
CountryUnited States
U.S. stateConnecticut
CountyFairfield
RegionWestern CT
Incorporated1788
Government
 • TypeSelect board-town meeting
 • First selectmanStephen C. Dunn (D)
 • SelectmanRobert D. Belden (I)
 • SelectwomanTara S. Carr (R)
Area
 • Total20.4 sq mi (52.8 km2)
 • Land19.8 sq mi (51.3 km2)
 • Water0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)
Elevation
459 ft (140 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total17,528
 • Density806.5/sq mi (311.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
06804
Area code(s)203/475
FIPS code09-08980
GNIS feature ID0213399
Websitewww.brookfieldct.gov

Brookfield is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States, situated within the southern foothills of the Berkshire Mountains.[1] The population was 17,528 at the 2020 census.[2] The town is located 55 miles (89 km) northeast of New York City, making it part of the New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA combined statistical area.[3] The town is part of the Western Connecticut Planning Region. In July 2013, Money magazine ranked Brookfield the 26th-best place to live in the United States, and the best place to live in Connecticut.[4]

Colonists settled in what is now known as Brookfield in 1710, led by John Muirwood and other colonial founders including Hawley, Peck and Merwin. They bartered for the land from the Wyantenuck and the Potatuck Nations who were ruled under the Sachems Waramaug and Pocono. Sachem Pocono's village was in an enormous palisade along the Still River. Colonists first established the area as the Parish of Newbury, incorporating parts of neighboring Newtown and Danbury. The parish later was renamed and incorporated as the town of Brookfield in 1788, named for Rev. Thomas Brooks, the first minister of the parish's Congregational church.

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Transcription

History

A vintage postcard from the Nutmeg Inn
The rail depot of Brookfield Junction

Early people who lived in Brookfield were subsistence farmers, gatherers, and hunters. The main food sources were corn, beans, squash and wild foods found in the rocky, heavily forested foothills of the Berkshire Mountains of Brookfield and New Milford. Such wild foods that were harvested were white oak acorns, American chestnuts, shag bark hickory nuts, may apples, beach nuts and Solomon's seal. The hunted animals that were taken[5] from the forest and rivers were deer, passenger pigeon, turkey, bass, trout, crawfish, squirrel, rabbit and others.[6] In the 18th century the community was called "Newbury", a name that came from the three towns from which its land was taken—New Milford, Newtown, and Danbury.[5]

As traveling to surrounding churches was difficult in winter, in 1752 the General Assembly granted the community the right to worship in area homes from September through March. In 1754, the General Assembly granted permission for the Parish of Newbury to build its own meeting house and recruit its own minister. On September 28, 1757, the first Congregational Church building was dedicated. The Reverend Thomas Brooks was ordained as the first settled minister. When incorporated in 1778, the town's name was changed to Brookfield in honor of Brooks, who was still the minister.[5]

Along the Still River, mills were in operation as early as 1732 in an area that became known as the Iron Works District. Brookfield was a thriving town with iron furnaces, grist mills, sawmills, comb shops, carding and cotton mills, a paper mill, a knife factory, hat factories, stage-coach shops, lime kilns, harness shops and other plants in operation. The grist mill still stands, as the Brookfield Craft Center. The Iron Works Aqueduct Company, formed in 1837 to supply water from mountain springs to the Iron Works District, still supplies water as the Brookfield Water Company.[5][6]

Before 1912, the town had two train stations: one in the Iron Works District near the present Brookfield Market and a second, Junction Station, near the corner of Junction Road and Stony Hill Road.[5]

The Danbury & Bethel Gas and Electric Company brought electricity to Brookfield in 1915.[5] The .475 Wildey Magnum gun, later made famous in the 1985 Charles Bronson movie Death Wish 3, was developed by Wildey J. Moore in Brookfield in the early 1970s (the factory has since moved to Warren, Connecticut).

In the early 1970s, the town was home to the headquarters of Lego USA.[7]

Throughout the 1970s and late 20th century, Brookfield saw a massive influx in its population. This is attributed to New Yorkers who began relocating from the city to the suburbs. This created rapid real estate development in Brookfield, and turned Brookfield into a popular commuter town for those who work in and around New York City.[8] The top professions of residents today are in the fields of professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and finance and insurance.[9] As of 2022, 88.7% of residents in the workforce hold white-collar jobs, and about 20% work remotely full-time.[10]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.4 square miles (53 km2), of which 19.8 square miles (51 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2), or 2.94%, is water. It borders Bethel to the south, Newtown to the southeast, Danbury to the southwest, New Fairfield to the west, New Milford to the northwest, and Bridgewater to the northeast.

Brookfield is located between the two largest lakes in Connecticut. Candlewood Lake (the largest) spans the west side of the town, while Lake Lillinonah spans the entire east side. The Still River also runs directly through the town, flowing directionally from south to north.

Neighborhoods

An aerial view of Candlewood Shores in Brookfield
Various buildings located throughout the Town Center Historic District

The town's largest neighborhoods include:

  • Brookfield Town Center (known to locals as "Four Corners") is the downtown shopping district of Brookfield. The area is experiencing heavy growth and revitalization in recent years with new apartment and shopping buildings, bringing over 150 new apartments and dozens of new stores. It is also a potential site for a future railway station.[11]
  • Brookfield Center is the original town center and a historic district, added NRHP, September 15, 1991). The original town hall, original general store, historic society, several churches, and an elementary school are located here.

Other named minor neighborhoods and geographic locations in the town are:

Climate

Brookfield has a humid continental climate, similar to that of New York City, with mild to warm humid summers and cold to very cold winters. The highest recorded temperature was 103 °F (39 °C) in July 1966, while the lowest recorded temperature was −15 °F (−26 °C) in 1968.[12] Snowfall is generally frequent in winter while average precipitation is most common in September.

Climate data for Brookfield, Connecticut
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 71
(22)
77
(25)
92
(33)
95
(35)
97
(36)
98
(37)
106
(41)
103
(39)
100
(38)
89
(32)
82
(28)
76
(24)
106
(41)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 36
(2)
40
(4)
49
(9)
61
(16)
72
(22)
81
(27)
85
(29)
83
(28)
75
(24)
63
(17)
51
(11)
40
(4)
61
(16)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 19
(−7)
22
(−6)
29
(−2)
39
(4)
48
(9)
59
(15)
64
(18)
62
(17)
53
(12)
42
(6)
34
(1)
25
(−4)
41
(5)
Record low °F (°C) −18
(−28)
−10
(−23)
−9
(−23)
14
(−10)
26
(−3)
36
(2)
40
(4)
38
(3)
28
(−2)
19
(−7)
10
(−12)
−11
(−24)
−18
(−28)
Average rainfall inches (mm) 3.76
(96)
3.30
(84)
4.43
(113)
4.36
(111)
4.57
(116)
4.74
(120)
4.99
(127)
4.55
(116)
4.66
(118)
4.89
(124)
4.54
(115)
4.16
(106)
52.95
(1,345)
Source: [13]

Economy

Companies in Brookfield include:

  • BNP Associates, an airport systems designer, is headquartered in Brookfield.
  • Branson Ultrasonics, a division of Emerson, is headquartered in Brookfield.
  • Bridgewater Chocolate, a premium chocolate manufacturer, is headquartered in Brookfield.
  • Cerulean Studios, an instant messaging software company, is headquartered in Brookfield.
  • Lego USA was formerly headquartered in Brookfield.
  • McMullin Manufacturing Corporation, a contract manufacturing company of precision metal stampings, fabricated metal parts and assemblies, is headquartered in Brookfield.[14]
  • Millbrook Press, an international book publisher, was formerly headquartered in Brookfield.
  • Nordex Inc, a manufacturer of medical and robotics components, is headquartered in Brookfield.
  • Photronics, a major semiconductor manufacturer, is headquartered in Brookfield.
  • ROMTech, a medical device technology company, is headquartered in Brookfield.
  • Southridge Technology, an IT company, is headquartered in Brookfield.
  • Townsquare Media has a corporate office in Brookfield.
  • Trendhaven Investment Management, an investment firm, is headquartered in Brookfield.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
18201,159
18501,359
18601,224−9.9%
18701,193−2.5%
18801,152−3.4%
1890989−14.1%
19001,0465.8%
19101,1015.3%
1920896−18.6%
19309263.3%
19401,34545.2%
19501,68825.5%
19603,405101.7%
19709,688184.5%
198012,87232.9%
199014,1139.6%
200015,66411.0%
201016,4525.0%
202017,5286.5%

The 2020 US Census counted a total population of 17,528. The total number of households in Brookfield was recorded at 6,209 with an average of 2.73 persons per household.[15] The population density was recorded at 861.9 persons per square mile (332.8 persons/km2).

According to the 2020 Census, the population of Brookfield was 86.4% White, 4.2% Asian, 3.1% Black or African American, and 0.2% Pacific Islander. Individuals from two or more races made up 4.5%.[16] In addition, Latinos of any race made up 6.5% of Brookfield's population. About 28.5% of Brookfield residents were younger than age 18 as of 2020; higher than the U.S. average of 24%. 15.1% of Brookfield residents were born outside of the United States.

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 15,664 people, 5,572 households, and 4,368 families residing in the town. The population density was 791.1 inhabitants per square mile (305.4/km2). There were 5,781 housing units at an average density of 292.0 per square mile (112.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.29% White, 0.76% Black or African American, 0.07% Native American, 2.48% Asian, 0.61% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. 2.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,573 households, out of which 39.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.1% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.6% were non-families. 17.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 27.4% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.7 males, slightly under the US average. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.0 males.

In 2022, the median income for a household in the town was $132,950, and the median income for a family was $172,383. The per capita income for the town was $63,411. About 1.2% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.4% of those under age 18 and 2.3% of those age 65 or over.

Government and politics

Elected bodies in the town government are a three-member Board of Selectmen, a seven-member Board of Education, a six-member Board of Finance, a five-member Planning and Zoning Commission, three-member Board of Assessment Appeals, and a 100-member, nonpartisan Representative Town Meeting. The town has several elective offices as well: the town clerk, probate judge, registrar of voters, tax collector and treasurer.

The Board of Finance approves financial measures, including the town budget; the Board of Education controls the town's public schools; the Representative Town Meeting is the main legislative body of the town. The three selectmen are elected on a town-wide basis, although each person can only vote for two members. This assures that there will almost always be one Democrat and two Republicans or two Democrats and one Republican. Many of the town committees have equal representation between Democrats and Republicans, regardless of the vote breakdown, since each individual can only vote for half as many seats as are available.[18]

At the state level, Brookfield is in the 107th House district, currently represented by State Rep. Martin Foncello (R).[19] Brookfield is part of the 30th and 32nd Senate districts, currently represented by State Sen. Stephen Harding (R) of Brookfield,[20] and State Sen. Eric Berthel (R) of Watertown.[21] At the federal level, Brookfield is part of the 5th congressional district, which is represented by Rep. Jahana Hayes (D).

For the 2020 Presidential Election, Joe Biden (D) received the majority of votes cast by Brookfield residents.

Taxes

As of 2022, the mill rate in Brookfield is 25.88.[22]

Voter registration and party enrollment as of November 1, 2022[23]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Democratic 3,189 264 3,453 25.14%
Republican 3,847 234 4,081 29.71%
Unaffiliated 5,515 441 5,956 43.36%
Minor parties 228 18 246 1.79%
Total 12,779 957 13,736 100%
Past elections results
Brookfield town vote
by party in presidential elections[24]
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2020 50.21% 5,426 48.36% 5,226 1.43% 155
2016 44.01% 4,216 51.91% 4,973 4.08% 391
2012 43.68% 3,916 55.11% 4,941 1.21% 108
2008 47.29% 4,340 51.79% 4,753 0.92% 84
2004 40.78% 3,619 58.17% 5,162 1.05% 93
2000 43.84% 3,536 51.49% 4,153 4.67% 377
1996 40.18% 2,982 48.92% 3,630 10.90% 809
1992 31.46% 2,657 44.40% 3,750 24.14% 2,039
1988 31.96% 2,261 67.22% 4,756 0.82% 58
1984 26.68% 1,834 73.03% 5,020 0.29% 20
1980 26.98% 1,635 59.97% 3,634 13.05% 791
1976 34.70% 1,856 64.49% 3,449 0.80% 43
1972 24.50% 1,208 73.67% 3,632 1.83% 90
1968 30.68% 1,147 63.17% 2,362 6.15% 230
1964 52.75% 1,475 47.25% 1,321 0.00% 0
1960 30.27% 544 69.73% 1,253 0.00% 0
1956 11.54% 139 88.46% 1,065 0.00% 0

Education

View of Brookfield High School, December 2020
View of Candlewood Lake Elementary School, September 2023

Public schools

  • Brookfield High School (Grades 9–12)
  • Whisconier Middle School (Grades 6–8)
  • Candlewood Lake Elementary School (Grades Pre-K–5)

In 2021, construction began on the new Candlewood Lake Elementary School at a construction cost of $78.1 million. The school is located on the grounds of the former Huckleberry Hill School, and replaced both Huckleberry and Center School (Pre-K–5).[25] The school opened in September 2023, in time for the 2023–24 school year.[26]

Private schools

The Western Connecticut Academy of International Studies is a magnet school in Danbury, Connecticut, that students (Grades K–5) from Brookfield are accepted into. Students to this school are also accepted from Bethel, Redding, Ridgefield, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, and other regional communities. Henry Abbott Technical High School is a public technical high school for students grades 9–12, being located in Danbury but also accepting students from other regional communities.

Many residents of Brookfield attend private schools in the Greater Danbury area, including Canterbury School (9–12), Immaculate High School (9–12) and Wooster School (Pre-K–12).

The Brookfield Craft Center is a specialized, non-degree school which teaches the skills of craftsmanship and offers courses and workshops to the general public. It is largely housed in an old historic mill house, on the Still River.

Downtown redevelopment project

The newly completed streetscape of Brookfield's Town Center District, also known as Four Corners, which includes sidewalks, parallel parking and new storefronts.
The Town Center District is decorated with lights, garland and winter banners during the Christmas and holiday season

For years, despite being a major economic center for retail in Fairfield County, Brookfield had lacked a walkable downtown area. Most of the large economic activity was centered on the southern portion of Federal Road near Danbury.[28] In 2016, construction began on a project known as "Brookfield Village", which will create a downtown district consisting of sidewalks, a pocket park, street lamps, and parallel parking.[29] Dozens of retail storefronts and residential apartment buildings (more than 150 units) are also being developed in this area, which has gained attention from retailers and will promote further development in the area.[30] In conjunction with other retail developments on Federal Road and with the completion of Phase I of the newly revitalized district, many new restaurants, stores and boutiques have recently opened in the Town Center District.[31]

Community and points of interest

Arts and culture

Sculptures depicting a family of horses; (left to right) mare, foal and stallion. Located at the entrance to the Brookfield Municipal Center and Town Park
The Brookfield Library, as seen from the entrance to Williams Park
  • Brookfield Arts Commission – A commission established in 1990 by the town consisting of 15 board members; the commission was created to engage in activities which are intended to promote understanding and appreciation of the arts to residents of the Town of Brookfield, encourage community participation in arts activities, coordinate information concerning artists and the arts within town, act as a liaison between artists, schools and the community, engage in activities designed to encourage local artists in demonstrating their talents, and promote activities that both entertain and enlighten. Each year, the commission awards university scholarships to town residents who are aspiring artists, or plan to pursue a career in the arts after high school.[32]
  • Brookfield Craft Center – a fine art gallery and educational center that brings arts and craftsmanship to people of all ages. Located in the former Brookfield Train Station and Brookfield Mills mill house.[33]
  • Brookfield Museum and Historical Society – founded in 1968, a museum and archive pertaining to the history of Brookfield and the New York and New England Region as a whole.[34]
  • Brookfield Public Library – located within the Brookfield Center Historic District. It is part of Bibliomation, a state-wide library consortium utilizing Evergreen in Connecticut which allows all involved libraries to share their resources, vastly increasing their collection sizes. The library was established in 1951 as the Joyce Memorial Library in the old Town Hall building on Whisconier Road using a $7,000 bequest left by Brookfield resident Daniel Clarke Joyce in 1929 to establish a library in Brookfield.[35][36] The current library was constructed in 1975, and is 9,600 square feet. At this time, the former "Joyce Memorial Library" was renamed "The Brookfield Library".[37] Several proposals have been made to construct a new library in Brookfield, due to the significant increase in population since 1975 when the current facility was constructed.[38] In 2002, the Library Board of Trustees began the planning stage for a new library, and in 2009, a one million dollar state grant was awarded for the construction of a new library.[39] A referendum was held in February 2018 over whether or not to begin construction on a 36,000 square foot library at a cost of 14.7 million dollars, although the motion did not pass.[40] The Library Committee is now revising the plan, with hopes to bring a revised plan to referendum.[41]
  • Brookfield Theatre for the Arts – a theatre where community productions of various plays are held. The theatre building is part of the former Curtis School for Boys, an all-boys boarding school which closed in 1943.[42]
  • Concerts in the Park – free, public outdoor concerts at the Brookfield Bandstand (located at the town park on Pocono Rd.) are held every Friday between the months of June and August. The concerts consist of a variety of local and regional artists and music groups.
  • Cotton Candy Fabrics – a fabric school with classes taught by experienced fashion designers, located at 450 Federal Rd.[43]
  • DiGrazia Vineyards – founded in 1978, a vineyard and winery located at 131 Tower Road that offers tours and wine tasting. DiGrazia is one of the three wineries in Fairfield County that are part of the Connecticut Wine Trail.[44]
  • Friends of The Arts of Brookfield – a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to enhance participation in the arts throughout the community. The organization also sponsors various art exhibitions, cinematic, and theatrical productions throughout Fairfield County.
  • JLG Autocrib – located at 1 Sunset Hill Rd., housing a private collection of over 30 rare and vintage Porsche cars and memorabilia.[45]
  • The Pottery Factory – located at 265 Federal Rd., classes and workshops are offered for pottery, glass fusing, candle making and soap making.[46]

Lakes

  • Candlewood Lake – the largest lake in Connecticut, Candlewood spans five towns and forms the western border of Brookfield.[47]
  • Lake Lillinonah – the second largest lake in Connecticut, spanning six towns. The lake was formed by the construction of the Shepaug Dam in 1955.[48]

Parks and beaches

Entrance to Williams Park
Brookfield Town Beach (Candlewood Lake)
  • Arthur A. Harris Linear Park – a trail located alongside the Brookfield Municipal Center, connecting the property to the Still River Greenway.[49]
  • Birch Rocks Trails Preserve – located at 40A Obtuse Rd. N, the park consists of 2.5 miles of hiking trails through 175 protected acres of wooded land.[50]
  • Brookfield Municipal Center – located on Pocono Rd., location of local government offices such as the Town Hall and Police Headquarters. Also home to the Brookfield Town Park, which is Brookfield's flagship park consisting of a large playground, baseball diamond and soccer fields. Also the location of the Brookfield Bandstand, an outdoor music pavilion where concerts and shows are held in the summer.[51]
  • Brookfield Nature Center – consists of 16 acres owned by the Town of Brookfield and is managed by the Brookfield Conservation Commission. The land has a striking mix of old fields, upland woods with strands of Spruce mixed with large specimen trees of Tulip and White Oak. Merwin Brook cuts across the northwest corner of the property. The brook flows through a wooded wetland with White Ash, Elm, and Red Maple trees around it. The grassland fields are a nesting site of Bobolinks and other ground nesting birds. A careful mowing schedule is used to protect the eggs and chicks.[52]
  • Brookfield Town Beach – located on 460 Candlewood Lake Road, the facilities include swimming, basketball, sand volleyball courts, restrooms, changing facilities, BBQ grills and picnic tables. The beach also features a Lakeside Community Room which is available for reservations to host events up to 50 people. The beach is only open to residents of the Town of Brookfield and their guests for daily admission, although residents of the Town of Bethel are eligible to purchase season passes.[53]
  • Burr Farm Protected Open Space – a town-owned parcel of protected open space located at 23 Dingle Brook Road, comprising 116 acres divided into East and West parcels, along the now unused eastern end of Lake George Road.[54]
  • Cadigan Park – a park located on Candlewood Lake Rd., containing turf football and lacrosse fields, lighted basketball and tennis courts, as well as walking/biking trails. Directly across the street from the Brookfield Town Beach.[55]
  • Eriksen Farm Open Space – a town-owned parcel of protected open space located at 8 Nabby Road, comprising 20 acres of protected open fields for walking and biking.[56]
  • Gurski Farm Protected Open Space – a town-owned parcel of protected open space that connects into Williams Park via trail.[57]
  • Happy Landings Protected Open Space – a town-owned parcel of 55 protected acres of open fields and approximately 19 acres of woodland open space located along Whisconier Road (Route 25), consists of containing historic barns, wells and windmills.[58]
  • Lillinonah Woods – located at 54 Obutse Rocks Rd., the park is situated on 68 acres of land and connects to Lake Lillinonah. This park offers fishing (by permit), hiking trails, picnic tables and parking. A small beach is also located on-site.[59]
  • Old Bridge Sanctuary – located at 57 Old Bridge Rd., a park situated on 25 acres that offers hiking trails and parking.[60]
  • Still River Greenway – a paved trail through the woods used for walking and biking that connects the Brookfield Municipal Center to Brookfield Town Center.[61] The greenway is part of a planned network that will eventually connect New Milford to Norwalk via pedestrian trails.[62]
  • Whalen Pond – located on 3 Broadview Road, a pond that is accessible for ice skating during the wintertime.[63]
  • Williams Park – a trail for walking and biking through the woods, also containing public clay tennis courts. Entrance is across the street from the Brookfield Library.[64]

Private membership/golf clubs

View of Candlewood Lake from the entrance to Candlewood Lake Club
  • Brookfield Bay Marinamarina and yacht club located on Candlewood Lake Road, north of the Candlewood Shores neighborhood.[65]
  • Candlewood East Marina – marina and yacht club with a member clubhouse located on Candlewood Lake Road, south of the Candlewood Shores neighborhood. The property across the street from the docks formerly belonged to the Brookfield Tennis Club, an indoor, members-only tennis and athletic center.[66]
  • Candlewood Lake Club – a private community on Candlewood Lake that encompasses land and properties in both Brookfield and adjoining New Milford. It includes a country club with an 9-hole golf course, tennis courts, swimming pools and a clubhouse. Real estate ownership within the community requires residents to pay membership fees to the club and homeowner association.[67]
  • Candlewood Shores Clubhouse – a facility open to members of the Candlewood Shores Homeowner's Association, which includes private beaches and recreation centers.[68]
  • Echo Bay Marina – a private marina located north of the Candlewood Shores neighborhood, adjacent to the Brookfield Town Beach.[69]
  • Knollcrest Marina – a private community and marina located near the northern end of Candlewood Lake.[70]
  • Sunset Hill Golf Club – a public, 9-hole golf course designed by Gene Sarazen in 1936.[71]

Recreation

  • All Star Indoor Batting Range – indoor batting range and softball training facility, located at 1120 Federal Road.[72]
  • Aquatic Club of Brookfield – located at 94 Old State Road, the Aquatic Club has an indoor pool and recreation center offering swimming lessons and aquatic activities for all ages.[73]
  • Brookfield Parks & Recreation – the Brookfield Parks & Recreation Department organizes various summer camps and popular cultural, educational, and recreational activities for town residents.[74]
  • Brookfield Senior Center – a community center for Brookfield area residents over 60, located at 100 Pocono Road. The Senior Center offers social, educational, physical, creative and intergenerational programs, with the goal of promoting successful aging.[75]
  • Brookfield Indoor Golf – indoor PGA golf simulators and event lounge with food and alcoholic beverages for guests, located at 195 Federal Road.[76]
  • The Dive Shop Aquatic Center – an aquatic center with an indoor Olympic-size swimming pool and whirlpool, located at 439 Federal Road. The facility also has a café and fitness center for members, and offers swimming lessons and PADI-certified scuba instructions.[77]
  • Escape 101 – an escape room center with five unique rooms for groups of varying sizes, located at 132 Federal Road.[78]
  • The Garden Club of Brookfield – founded in 1962 and organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Garden Club of Brookfield consists of members who maintain Brookfield's many community-owned gardens. The Garden Club is part of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut.[79]
  • Greenknoll YMCA – located at 2 Huckleberry Hill Road, the Greenknoll Branch Regional YMCA of Western CT offers a wide variety of programs for all age groups. The facility has an indoor Olympic-size swimming pool, an indoor therapeutic pool, a seasonally-enclosed outdoor Olympic-size pool, indoor racquetball courts, indoor/outdoor basketball courts, an indoor track, playground, and a wellness center.[80] The wellness center includes a sauna, indoor whirlpool, cardiovascular room, functional fitness room, and a multi-purpose gymnasium for activities such as yoga and taekwondo. The Y also offers multiple youth and teen summer camps, which include Camp Greenknoll, Race for Chase, and Summer Club at Grassy Plain, as well as a nursery school.[81]
  • Lakeside Watersports – boat and water sports lessons on Candlewood Lake, located at Echo Bay Marina 227 Candlewood Lake Road.[82]
  • Strikers of Brookfield – 32-lane bowling alley with cosmic bowling nights, a café & an old-school lounge with pool table, located at 140 Federal Road.[83]

Scouting

Brookfield has a long history with Scouting and maintains several active scout units, including three Scouts BSA troops, Girl Scouts and a Cub Scout pack. These are as follows:

  • Troop 5 – Founded in February 1942, Troop 5 is sponsored by St Paul's Church and meeting on Tuesday nights. The Troop camps every month and hasn't missed a month since 1964 (over 700 consecutive months, including modified campouts during the COVID Pandemic.) As the troop starts its 82nd year, the Troop currently has 32 Scouts registered with several soon to join the 79 names of Eagle Scouts from Troop 5 proudly displayed on a plaque in the Parish Hall. The troop holds several Community Service projects within Brookfield every year and run a popular Christmas Tree Pickup fundraiser in early January and a Mulch Sales & Delivery fundraiser the 1st weekend in May.[84]
  • Troop 135 – Founded in 1993, Troop 135 is open to boys ages 11–18 and currently meets on Thursday nights at Huckleberry Hill Elementary School. The troop recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and has over 40 Eagle Scouts. The troop runs a Wreath Sales fundraiser each holiday season.[85]
  • Troop 235 – Founded in 2019, Troop 235 is the town's first Scouts BSA Girl Troop open to girls ages 11–18. The troop currently meets on Thursday nights at Huckleberry Hill Elementary School.
  • Pack 135 – Brookfield currently has a single pack which has over 60 boys ages 7–11. Dens for each grade have meetings one or two times each month with a full pack meeting once a month.
  • Girl Scouts – There are several Girl Scout troops in town with girls from kindergarten thru to seniors in Brookfield High School. Each grade-appropriate troop of typically 6-12 girls stays together throughout their Scouting year.

Annual events

  • Brookfield Town Center Block Party – held the first Sunday of June, the Block Party is an annual street fair held in the heart of Brookfield's Town Center District, bringing together residents and visitors alike for a day of festive fun and entertainment. With a vibrant mix of local vendors, live music performances, and engaging activities for all ages, this street fair celebrates the spirit and diversity of the neighborhood, creating lasting memories and fostering a sense of unity. The event is organized by the Brookfield Town Center 4 Business, a consortium of local businesses in the district.[86]
  • Easter Egg Hunt – the Parks and Recreation Department holds an Egg Hunt every year in the Municipal Center on the Sunday that Easter falls on.[87]
  • Farmers Market – held on Fridays from 3PM to 6PM at the Brookfield Municipal Center throughout the Summer months. Vendors include farmers offering organic non-GMO fruits and vegetables, and local artisans from the tri-state area and New England.
  • Halloween Run – held every year the weekend before Halloween; begins at the Municipal Center.
  • Holiday Tree Lighting – held the first weekend of December, 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm. The town lights its Holiday Tree in the Brookfield Municipal Center this time every year. Kids can also sit on Santa's lap, and free hot chocolate and cookies are provided in the Town Hall.
  • Indie Film Festival – every year in March, the Brookfield Arts Commission holds a festival lasting three days, consisting of short and foreign films.[88]
  • Fire Dept. Kid's Day – held the first weekend of June, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fire company offers fire prevention and safety for the whole community. The membership provides demonstrations and practice for getting out alive through the use of a fire safety trailer, stop, drop and roll, and dialing 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. They also team with outside agencies including the Brookfield Police Department to speak with residents about car seat safety and the importance of seat belts as well as the local Rotary Club to photograph children for the Amber Alert program. Kids and adults get to "dress up" in firefighter's gear–feeling the actual weight that firefighter's must carry.[89] This also includes rides on two restored 1930's fire trucks owned by the department.[90]
  • Memorial Day Parade – takes place on Memorial Day Weekend, running through the Brookfield Center Historic District. The parade consists of vintage and modern emergency vehicles, classic cars and supercars, and floats from various local and regional organizations.[91][92]
  • Mother's Day 5k – The Parks & Rec Department holds an annual 5K on Mother's Day starting at Brookfield High School. Hundreds of runners and walkers from the region attend.[93]
  • Relay For Life 5k – held each year in June at Brookfield High School.[94]
  • St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraiser – held every year in March at Brookfield High School.[95]

Rankings

Known as an affluent Fairfield County suburb, Brookfield has regularly placed high in various rankings.[96] Brookfield was selected as the best small town in Connecticut by Money magazine in 2013.[97] It was selected as the 26th best town to live in nationwide by Money.com in 2013.[98] In 2017, MarketWatch ranked the Greater Danbury area as the 10th most expensive place to raise a family in the United States.[99] Brookfield Public Schools are frequently ranked as one of the best school districts in Connecticut.[100][101] Brookfield is also frequently ranked as one of the safest towns in Connecticut, due to its extremely low crime rates.[102] In 2015, Connecticut Magazine rated Brookfield as one of the best among towns in Connecticut with median home values over $325,000.[103] The rating considers education, crime, economy, community engagement, and culture/leisure.

Notable people

Partially due to Brookfield's close proximity to New York City, Brookfield has seen many notable residents ranging from famous golfer Gene Sarazen to Connecticut's 87th governor Jodi Rell. Many finance and business executives also reside in Brookfield, due to the centralization of investment firms and hedge funds in Fairfield County, as well as many Fortune 500 companies.[104]

In popular culture

Transportation

Highways

The Southville Bridge, part of Connecticut Route 133

Interstate 84 and U.S. Route 7 are the main highways in Brookfield. From the South, US 7 and US 202 jointly exit Interstate 84 at Exit 7 near Danbury. To the South, US 7 connects to the Merritt Parkway and Interstate 95 in Norwalk. US 202 then splits from US 7 at Exit 11, and runs parallel north through town before reconnecting with US 7 near the New Milford border. For many years, US 7 and US 202 ran concurrently through Brookfield but, after decades of discussion and planning, the US 7 Bypass officially opened on November, 2009.[112] The Governor of Connecticut at the time was Jodi Rell (R), a Brookfield resident.

Connecticut Route 133 connects Brookfield to its eastern neighbor Bridgewater over the iconic Southville Bridge, which spans the Housatonic River. Connecticut Route 25 also connects Brookfield with Newtown and its Hawleyville neighborhood to the southeast, passing by Interstate 84 and terminating at US 6.[113] Interstate 84 passes through the southern tip of Brookfield, but is most directly accessible through Exit 9 in Hawleyville.

Brookfield is located along U.S. Bicycle Route 7, which runs from Norwalk, Connecticut, to the border between Vermont and Quebec.

Buses

The town is part of the "4 Route", "7 Route" and "New Milford Loop", which are operated by Housatonic Area Regional Transit (HART).[114] A park and ride is located at 67 White Turkey Road Ext., and offers connections to nearby bus and train stations as well as nearby airports.[115] HART operates a direct shuttle for commuters between the park and ride and Brewster station from 5 AM to 10 PM on weekdays.[116]

Railroad

Former Brookfield train station; the building is now part of the Brookfield Craft Center campus

Until 1971, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (later the Penn Central Railroad) operated commuter service between Grand Central Terminal and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which included a stop in Brookfield. Brookfield's station building is currently occupied by the Brookfield Craft Center, which ceased to operate as a station in 1971 when service ended. There was also a station on Stony Hill Road known as Brookfield Junction, which closed in 1925.

Proposals have been made to extend the New Haven Line's Danbury Branch to New Milford, which would include a Brookfield Metro-North station.[117] The Danbury Branch provides commuter rail service between Danbury, to South Norwalk, Stamford, and Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The tracks north of Danbury are currently used by the Housatonic Railroad for freight service. This extension would give Brookfield's significant population of commuters another way to travel to Lower Fairfield County and New York City, since they must currently leave from the nearby Danbury station or other stations along the New Haven or Harlem Lines, such as Brewster station (located 12 miles from Brookfield).

Airports

The closest public airport to Brookfield is Danbury Municipal Airport, being located in neighboring Danbury. Brookfield is within close proximity of several airports with commercial service, including Westchester County Airport, Bradley International Airport, Tweed New Haven Airport and NYC airports of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Emergency services

Fire Department and EMS

The town of Brookfield has two volunteer fire companies in town staffing three stations, with the headquarters for the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company being at 92 Pocono Rd, the Center Company at 6 Obtuse Hill Rd and the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department Candlewood Company at 18 Bayview Dr.[118] The department was founded in 1934, and is composed entirely of volunteers.

Police Department

The Brookfield Police Department Headquarters is located at 63 Silvermine Rd, adjacent to the Brookfield Municipal Center. The department was established on July 1, 1977, and as of 2017, consists of 34 full-time officers, 6 special officers and 12 full and part-time civilian personnel. The Department Command Staff consists of the chief of police, a major and a captain. There is a Patrol Division, a Detective Division, including a youth officer and two school resource officers, and part-time SCUBA Team, Accident Investigation Team, tactical response technicians with the Danbury Police Department, and part-time evidence technicians.[119][120] Brookfield has plans to expand the current police headquarters, citing a growth in the population served, as well as the size of the police force.[121]

Media

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External links

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