City of

District 15

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Contact Information

Home Address:

4117 Major Ave.
Madison , WI 53716

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Ahrens’ Updates

Beer, Sidewalks and Old TVs

December 1, 2016 7:50 AM

Biergarten at Olbrich? "Biergarten" is German for "beer garden." That's the concept behind a proposal to build a biergarten/beer garden at the beach house at Olbrich Park.

A little background: Last year, the Parks Commission decided that some of the primary city parks were under-used and that they would benefit from "place-making." Unlike most projects where the city asks for proposals where it spends money, this project asked for individuals for proposals where private citizens would invest money and get part of the benefit.

The Parks Commission chose two proposals for Olbrich beach house. One from Rutabaga Sports that proposed a concession to rent water equipment such as canoes, paddle boards, etc. The other was for a beer garden that would be modeled after the "biergartens" now operating in five Milwaukee County parks and brings the city $1 million in fees and revenue.

They propose to be open from 4-10 PM during the six months when sitting outside is possible. They will sell local beers, pretzels, non-alcoholic drinks and brats. They will pay the city for the use of the building and a percentage of the gross or profits. They will also renovate the shabby building. Most important, proponents argue that it will enliven an underused section of the park.

The proposal has engendered some discussion and controversy. Obviously, any proposal for another alcohol establishment deserves scrutiny. It deserves even more consideration and discussion because the beer garden is in a city park.

In addition to these concerns, some object to the city's engagement with a profit-making enterprise. However, the city is deeply involved with many, many profit-making enterprises of all kinds and this would be among the smallest.

To date, the proposed operators have met with three neighborhood organizations and participated in a first hearing at the Alcohol License Review Board. There will be another community meeting with the proposed owners and Parks Dept. staff and Commissioners to learn about the project and have your questions answered:

Lake Edge Lutheran Church (basement)

4032 Monona Dr. (parking in rear on Hegg Ave.)

Thursday, Dec. 8th

6:30- 8 PM

There will also be a Parks Commission meeting in which this topic will be on the agenda on Wednesday, Dec. 14th at 6:30 at Warner Park. The following week there will be another meeting of the Alcohol License Review Commission on Dec. 21st at 5:30 PM at Room 201 of the City-County Building.

After these hearings, the proposal will be on the Council agenda some time in early January.

Sidewalks on Dean: This summer the city informed residents of Dean and Allis Ave. that their streets would be reconstructed. The street is in pretty bad shape and like much of the Eastside, its underground lines are 60 years old and with an increasing frequency of breaks in cold weather.

However, the plan included the construction of sidewalks which would have required the loss of quite a few trees that are within the city's right-of-way. This loss would be in addition to the extensive loss of trees due to the ash borer. Also, many of the homes would lose substantial parts of their front yard to a terrace and sidewalk.

A mail survey of the residents indicated that a strong majority opposed the sidewalk plan. Supporters of the sidewalk plan felt that walking in the street was unsafe, especially for kids and people with limited mobility.

Residents of the area organized a committee to organize opposition to the proposal. They met with the staff of the Engineering Dept. to discuss the proposal and the reasons for their opposition.

At the same time, I proposed two resolutions. One that would allow residents to determine if they wanted sidewalks did not have support on the Council. I then proposed that instead of proposing a whole list of factors that would "qualify" for sidewalks, the city should establish priorities for reconstruction such as bus routes and schools.

Before there was an opportunity for a hearing on this later measure, the city reconsidered its proposal for Dean/Allis and has decided to indefinitely postpone work on the project.

Imagine Madison!  The Madison Planning Department forecasts that Madison's population will add 70,000 new residents over the next 25 years. How will this affect housing, public services, transportation, open space, etc.? As a city, what should we strive for? What are your concerns? Do you have a "big idea" for Madison (one change that would have the biggest impact regardless of cost, time, or effort)? Or, do you have a "small idea" for Madison (a small change with an immediate impact)?

The City's Planning Division is updating Madison's Comprehensive Plan, a document which will shape the City's decisions and investments for the coming decades. As part of this process it is launching a public engagement initiative entitled Imagine Madison. Visit the website for complete details:

Kickoff Community Meetings: The first Imagine Madison community meeting will be Monday, December 5 at the Central Library (201 W. Mifflin St.). A second meeting with the same agenda will be held on Wednesday, December 7 in the Atrium  Room at Village on Park (2300 S. Park St.). Both meetings will include an open house from 5:30-6:15 pm, an interactive presentation from 6:15-7:15 pm, and an open house and discussion time from 7:15-8:00 pm. Light hors d'oeuvres will be provided.

Playground Improvements: In 2017 the City of Madison will be constructing playground improvements at Brigham Park, including  a new playground equipment and ADA accessible path to the equipment.

A playground workshop regarding the project was held on November 16, 2016.  Information from this meeting is available on the City of Madison Parks Division projects website for  Brigham Park Playground Replacement.

There will be a follow-up meeting where you can vote on your choices on: 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 6:00 PM
Hawthorne Elementary School Cafeteria
3344 Concord Avenue
Madison, WI 53714

TV Recycling Fee: Effective January 1, 2017, the Streets Division will increase the cost of recycling a television from $10 to $15 apiece. 

Madison residents are still required to bring televisions to one of the Streets Division drop-off sites for the City to recycle it.  Residents are reminded that they should not place televisions at the curb, or into their curbside collection carts. The fine for a TV left on the curb is $25.

The recycling fee is paid by obtaining an appliance sticker in advance of delivering the item to a drop-off site.  Stickers are can be purchased at any city of Madison public library, the Treasurer's Office in the City-County Building, or at either Streets Division office.  The Streets Division offices are open 7:30am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday.  The offices are located at 1501 W. Badger Rd. and 4602 Sycamore Ave.  Please note that the drop-off sites and the Streets Division offices have different hours.

Through October 2016, the Streets Division has recycled over 200 tons of televisions.  That is nearly equivalent to the weight of all the electronics that the Streets Division recycled in 2015. Increasing the television recycling fee to $15 will better cover recycling costs.

For more information, residents can also visit the Streets Division website

If you have any concerns or questions about city policies or practices you can reach me at or at 334-1156.

Have a good holiday season,


Email to a friend Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the Alder Ahrens, District 15 email list:

By participating on this list the Wisconsin Public Records Laws may subject your email address to disclosure to third parties. By selecting "Yes" you are requesting that we treat your email address that you have provided to this list as confidential and you are also stating that you would not participate in this service if the City is obligated to release your email address to such third party requesters.

Recent Entries




District Updates


2018 Budget  2019 budget  911 call center  animal control  annexation  ash trees  assessment  beer  biergarten  Biodigester  Buckeye  Budget  Budget  Burke Heights Neighborhood Association  capital budget  capital east garage  capitol bike path  capitol bike path  capitol bike path  capitol bike path  chip-sealing  Christmas Trees  City Council  confederate graves  Cottage Grove Rd  coyotes  dogs  Downtown  ECA  EMCC  emerald ash borer  Flood  Flood  food carts  Garver  Garver  Garver Feed Mill  Glendale Neighborhood Association  governance reform  homeless  hotel  housing assistance  Hwy 51  Hwy 51  immigration  Judge Doyle Square  Koval  Lake Edge reconstruction  Lake Edge shelter  Mayor  Mayor  Mayor Soglin  midtown police station  Milwaukee St Bridge  Milwaukee St Bridge  Monona Golf Course  Monona Golf Course  monona terrace  Municipal Building  neighorhood plans  neighorhood plans  neighorhood plans  Olbrich  Olbrich Gardens  park shelter  park shelter  parking garage  Parking Ramps  parking utility  parks  petition  pinney  playground  Police  Police staffing  Preemption  public market  renewable energy  retail  Rethke  Robinson  royster  sidewalks  Snow Emergency  Starkweather Creek  stop signs  street construction  street construction  street construction  street vending  supported housing  supported housing  supported housing  The Beacon  thompson dr.  TID 32  traffic  transit  transportation  tree canopy  Turner Ave  Uber  visions  Walter St.  water utility  water utility  water utility  wheel tax  yard waste