This was my first full month of council and committee meetings. As a reminder, my committees include Landmarks (chair), Plan, Transit and Community Media (chair). All city meetings are being held virtually. This is a great time to tune in!
You can watch them at your convenience on YouTube if you have internet capabilities. Many are also running on TV on our Monona Community Cable Channel 990 (Charter) or 99 (AT&T U-Verse). The link to the City’s YouTube channel is: https://www.youtube.com/user/MononaTV. If you would like to reach out to me by email, my address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 4 Council Meeting
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi made an appearance with an update from the County. Free Covid-19 tests are now available at Alliant Energy Center to anyone who wants one. They take about 30 minutes. Event cancellations at the Alliant Energy Center or ongoing until further notice. The County partnered with Dane Buy Local and provided them with $10 Million in grant funds to distribute to local businesses. If you applied earlier, you should apply again. Membership is not a requirement for receiving funds.
Operator’s licenses were approved.
The City is in the process of finalizing a grant of $25,000 for a Historic preservation project from the Wisconsin Historical Society. The Landmarks Committee is reviewing Monona’s historic properties.
Police Chief Walter Ostrenga made an appearance regarding the department participating in the Wisconsin Bureau of Transportation Safety Grant. It’s a $5,000 grant to help us prepare for an influx of traffic after the shut down resulting in overtime for officers. It was approved.
The Farmers Market Use Agreement was discussed. And I’d like to clear this up. Not long before the meeting, I talked with someone on the market board. They stated that the market wanted to open on May 17 but due to the shut down, May 31 was put on their application. The State has deemed farmers markets to be an essential business so I decided to advocate for them because I felt it was the right thing to do.
The motion was to approve a five year extension agreement with Parks & Rec and the Farmers Market. I mentioned that the market had told me that they wanted to open on the 17th not the 31st. Other council members either commented in support of staying with the 31st date or remained silent. In this case, I wasn’t certain which contract had the opening date so I should have asked more questions. I defaulted to a no vote when I should have abstained. But, I made a rookie mistake at my first council meeting and I’ve learned from it. I learned that I need to ask more questions and know if two issues are tied into one and what exactly is being voted on.
I am a big supporter of our market. I served on their board, I believe people should have more access to locally grown food, it’s a great market that consistently wins Best of Madison, and it’s good for Monona. I’m thrilled that, in the end, the market is able to open on May 17! The Parks & Rec board announced that it would be allowed to open on May 17. Council did receive a few emails asking to allow the market to open on the 17th rather than delaying it to the 31st. It was the right decision.
There are several regulations surrounding the market so be sure to do your research before you go. Masks are mandatory.
Monona Library is now offering curbside pickup. 20 items maximum per patron. Don’t go to the library until you are contacted about your pick-up.
There’s a temporary no parking order on parts of Tonywatha Trail and Winnequah Trail to help with increased bike/ped traffic. It’s in place through July 31.
Board of Review will hold its first hearings on June 30 at 6pm at the library municipal room. You must make an appointment with the clerk, Joan Andrusz.
This will include committees that I serve on in detail (Plan, Community Media, Transit, Landmarks). For the others, you can learn more from the minutes or agendas that are posted on the Agenda Center: http://www.mymonona.com/agendacenter
Transit is currently not meeting
The City is in the process of receiving a grant of $25,000 for a Historic preservation project. We’re also considering a plan to accept applications for residents to get on the historic registry. May is National Historic Preservation Month and it’s also National Bike Month. So, the committee is encouraging you to take the Monona Historic Bike/Walking Tour this month. Maps are available on the City’s website at MyMonona.com. You’ll see it in the News & Highlights section. I also wrote a press release and submitted it to the newspaper. That article will have specific details.
We reviewed a zoning change for Dave Jones, Inc. They’ll be adding an outbuilding. It will allow them to keep people employed and have a space for training employees on best practices during a pandemic. There was unanimous support for this project. It will be reviewed at the Plan Commission on the Tuesday after Memorial Day so they can get going on it. They’re located in the Monona Business Park.
We also reviewed Phase 2 of the Riverfront—the final apartment building to be constructed north of Avid and across from The Breakwater along Bridge Road. It’s a five story building with 145 apartments with two levels of parking, one private, one public. It also has a rooftop pool for apartment residents that is quite impressive. It will include studio, one bedroom two bedroom and three bedroom market rate apartments.
It’s a very complex site to work within and the building is big. Look up the renderings if you can. This project came back with changes requested by the plan commission previous to my service. Overall, everyone on the committee is excited about it and are looking forward to seeing the drastic change that is about to happen. There may be some final changes made to the entrance/exit of the parking garages but overall, it’s wrapping up. They hope to break ground soon.
The committee discussed a project that’s been underway for some time to demonstrate the value of the department to other departments and the school district. Visual presentations will be finalized shortly and scheduled to be presented at City Council and at the School Board meetings.
The committee was updated on a hiring freeze until further notice. The department is down one staff person of its two person team. The position is funded with 70% of funds from the school district. A plan for the hiring process in place for June/July. This will provide time to train the Media Production Manager prior to the beginning of the school year.
WVMO updates included that the station volunteers have adapted to being on air from home. They’ve done a great job keeping the radio on during this time.
Please note that all events have either gone virtual or have been cancelled.
• Memorial Day Parade - they are hoping to hold a parade later in the year
• City Wide Garage Sales - they are rescheduled to the Friday/Saturday of Sept. 11 & 12. This is managed by our local newspaper, Herald-Independent. You can call them for info: 608-839-1544
• Monona Community Festival is also cancelled.
Road/Street Updates (no changes since my last update)
• South Towne Boulevard bridge reconstruction is underway by the WisDOT. That project entails new concrete, new lights, onramp/offramp improvements, and new sidewalks. The DOT project page says completion is summer 2020.
• McKenna Road construction is underway. Sidewalks are being installed on one side and no trees will need to be removed for this project which is great news. The project includes installation of new watermain, sanitary sewer, water laterals, sanitary laterals, storm sewer, sidewalk, curb and gutter, and new pavement. The construction limits stretch from the intersection at Dean Ave. to the 5-way intersection at Maywood/Greenway.
During construction access via vehicle may be temporarily unavailable to driveways. Construction crews will do what they can to give access as they go. Please do not remove stakes, paint, or flags along the street right-of-way. These are there to mark underground utilities or new locations of utilities. Be careful traversing the roadway at night as the streetscape will not be flat and safe to walk through without proper lighting. When possible please take other routes. For more information on this project please visit the City’s projects webpage. This page will be consistently updated with work schedules and progress reports throughout the project. https://mymonona.com/1113/Current-Projects
• Bridge Road reconstruction is underway. Homburg, Monona's contractor, will be milling off pavement and fixing base course starting early May. Final pavement and striping to be installed by the middle of June and restoration of medians and terraces to be completed soon after. The bridge railings had to be returned to the manufacturer due to defects. New railings will be installed this spring. For plan drawings, click here: https://www.mymonona.com/DocumentCenter/View/9347/2019-Monona-Bridge-Road-Improvements-1-2019
• Winnequah Road Pirate Island Bridge Replacement in 2020. The City of Monona has plans to replace the Winnequah Road bridge to Pirate Island in 2020. The current bridge was constructed in 1960, and has a sufficiency rating of 8.6 out of 100. Reconstruction plans call for the complete replacement of the bridge. One lane will be open to residents during the construction. During construction, the water main currently hanging from the bridge will be placed under the channel, just to the west of the bridge. This project will be rebid in the Fall of 2020. Bids came in at a much higher cost than was initially budgeted. The link to view the plans: https://mymonona.com/DocumentCenter/View/9395/Winnequah-Bridge-PPT-08222019