Alder David Ahrens
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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May- June Newsletter for 15th Aldermanic District
It was only two years ago that the Royster-Clark (RC) fertilizer plant on Dempsey and Cottage Grove Rd. was a regular source of smelly smoke and noise at all hours of the day and night. Now it's a 27 acre field of rubble from the rebuilding of Monona Dr.
Last week, the City Council passed a re-zoning of the site that will set the stage for the next stage of its development. This development will result in hundreds of new homes, retail outlets, offices and perhaps a new library (see below). Most of the homes will be "market-rate" and include about 100 single-family homes and a similar number of multi-unit homes. There is some consideration of "below-market" rate homes for the elderly and others for families with a disabled family member.
In addition to the homes and retail development, the city is exploring designs that would improve the overall look of Cottage Grove Road from Monona Dr. and Dempsey. This could include widening the street to provide a bike lane, adding a median strip, adding more trees and reducing the utility lines. Before any changes are decided, we'll organize some community meetings to discuss ideas and get feedback on proposals.
As financing and planning firms up, infrastructure could start in the fall and home construction could be underway early next year. This development promises a big revival for neighborhoods near and far in the 15th Alder District.
For an animated "fly-through" of what the RC project might look like, click onto this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMR3CruuZJA
A New Pinney Library?
The Pinney Library is a much-loved institution in our neighborhood. Perhaps it is loved- or at least used -too much. Our library has the second highest use rate in the city. And it is also one of the smallest. Nearly every computer is in use at all times. To make matters worse, it's in a floodplain that can quickly ruin books.
In addition to the soon-to-open $30 million central library, all of the new libraries in the city have been built on the west side: Sequoya, Ashman and soon, Meadowridge. It's pretty clear that it's time for the eastside to get a new library and that Pinney should be next.
Building the new library as a cornerstone of the Royster Clark development would be another "game-changer" for the neighborhood. Within one block of the YMCA, it would provide a great location for families and kids. Right off the Capitol City bike trail and on numerous bus lines, it would be convenient to folks all over the eastside.
The Library Board must approve a new library and the city must appropriate funds for its construction. The need for a new library is long overdue. I hope you'll support this important addition to our community when it is proposed.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
One of the centerpieces of our community and the city is the outstanding Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The OBG Society, which manages the Gardens, has announced plans for a major expansion of the garden buildings. This proposal and design is in its early stages. As neighbors of the garden, volunteers and regular users, we have a strong interest in assuring the best possible project. There will be much more discussion of this project in the months to come.
You can find out more about this project, the need for expansion and the planning process at this website: h
OB Sherry Park
For over a year, OB Sherry Park has become a regular gathering place for a group of alcoholics who often spend their entire day and evening at the park. Their drunken behavior has often made the park unusable for families and individuals who want to use the park. At the request of a number of constituents, I sponsored an ordinance that bans alcohol use in the park. "Alcohol bans" have been in place in a number of city parks where chronic drinking by a small group of "inebriates" made the parks off-limits to kids and other park-users. Under a ban, police do not have wait until the individuals are drunk to make arrests.
The Parks Commission held a hearing on the proposal and neighbors of OB Sherry Park told the commissioners of their individual experiences with chronic drunkenness in the park. The Commission unanimously recommended the ordinance to the City Council which passed the ordinance. We hope that this return the park to the neighborhood in the summer months to come.
As you may have noticed, brush pick-up has been delayed this year. Overall, it will be delayed by about two weeks as a result of a 70% increase in the amount of brush and shrubs at the curb-side. Well, I guess the upside is that it gives us a few extra weekends to make the pile higher.
If you have a problem that you believe can be addressed by city services, would like me to meet with you and your neighbors or would like to discuss a city policy, you can contact me at:
Have a great summer!
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