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MESBA puts forth its first Civic Agenda for Monona

One of my last initiatives as the Executive Director of the Monona East Side Business Alliance (MESBA) was to lead a strategic planning session with 12 people from the business community and from the City to create Monona's first Civic Agenda. A civic agenda is a list of priorities that are important to the business community but help make our community stronger as a whole. Businesses need strong neighborhoods in order to be successful so it's a priority for them to improve the quality of life for all who live here, especially in this era of online shopping. The businesses who are truly engaged in our community are the "Mom and Pop" businesses who are the first to employ our kids, who live in our neighborhoods and also contribute to our tax base. Big box stores unfortunately are not typically involved on this local level. This is a distinction that's important. I hear people bashing the business community in its entirety when they're really talking about the large corporations—not the small, locally owned businesses that drive our community like The Cozy Home, Rutabaga Paddlesports, Reptile Rapture, Rosy Cheeks, and the multitude of locally owned restaurants we're lucky to have. There are too many to list so these are just a few that are destination businesses (draw people from other areas outside Monona to spend dollars in our community). The 2020 Civic Agenda is copied in below for your convenience and I've included a link to it on MESBA's website where you can download the PDF. Economic Development Monona must provide strong employment opportunities, business growth, education and housing options for all current and future residents and businesses. • Retain, encourage, and promote a variety of commercial uses and employment opportunities in Monona. • Encourage the creative use of tax increment financing (TIF) and other economic incentives for mixed-use and infill development projects in and around Monona. • Advocate for the closing of the Dark Store Loophole. • Advocate for quality schools, as they are important to the economic well-being of the community. • Support increased housing options and diversity, including affordable and accessible housing to serve all socioeconomic groups. • Support alternative housing developments and increased housing options for growing Monona’s population and tax base. • Support federal skilled-worker immigration reform to grow and retain talent, foster entrepreneurship, and drive economic growth. • Continue to support and promote Monona’s facade grant program. Transportation Monona must have transportation policies and sustainable funding that encourage a multi-modal transportation system providing solutions vital to the transportation facing our city and region. • Actively support the city-wide multi-modal transportation system. • Work with our partners to find and encourage sustainable funding for a regional transportation system in the Dane County area. • Support and advocate for the use of TIF to assist with multi-modal transportation infrastructure. • Encourage the formation of public/private partnerships needed to fund, sustain, and grow Monona Transit. • Collaborate with businesses and the City of Monona to identify and promote incentives that encourage employees, customers, and clients to use Monona Transit or other multi-modal transportation options. • Work with the City of Monona and private sector to see more bicycle racks throughout the city. • Support the City of Monona’s efforts to ensure adequate parking for commercial developments. Communication & Connectivity Monona must have viable communication channels in place to communicate with the business community, residents, and to reach visitors to support increased revenue at Monona businesses. • Build and strengthen connections with tourism organizations to harness publicity opportunities that drive visitors to Monona hotels and businesses. • Actively support the City of Monona by sharing news and information that is relevant to the business community. • Seek partnerships with local event planners to help support and promote events held in Monona and proximate to Monona. • Provide information to constituents on the Dark Store Loophole and how/when to take action. • Ensure that Monona is represented at public information meetings regarding regional developments that will impact Monona’s economy. • Maintain and nurture relationships with the media in all forms. Quality of Life Monona must offer needed services, amenities, public safety, and an inviting and welcoming physical environment to be an attractive place for all. • Participate in efforts to maintain and improve the cleanliness, accessibility, health, and beauty of our parks, public spaces, and lakes. • Support local emergency services in their efforts to keep Monona safe. • Collaborate with community partners to address poverty in Monona. • Support efforts for local art and music that contributes to our quality of life. • Providing information, education, and resources available for homeless populations in our community. • Keep constituents informed on the future aircraft investment of the 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field. The 2020 Civic Agenda was developed by MESBA’s Advocacy Committee. Advocacy Committee members include: Leah Hernandez, The Cozy Home - Chair Tim Casper, Murphy Desmond S.C. - Co-Chair William Morgan, Murphy Desmond S.C. Maggie Baum, Maggie B. Communications Jesse Widen, Widen Jaye Clemmons, Mr. Brews Taphouse-Monona Kathy Thomas, City of Monona Alder Pam Raschein, ReMax Preferred Bob Gonzalez, Croak Gonzalez Eckerle Martinson John Klinzing, Tricor Insurance James Gubbins, Momentum Art Tech Madison Bryan Gadow, City of Monona

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