Alder David Ahrens
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
Alder Ahrens’ Updates
Pinney Library.... Finally:
Last week, the Common Council approved $3.1 million for the initial construction of the new and much-improved Pinney Library. RDC Co. will build the "gray box" at the Royster Corners site on Dempsey and Cottage Grove Rd. After "the box" is completed, the interior, mechanicals, and materials will be added over the next year. If all goes as planned, the 20,000 sq. ft. library will open at the end of 2018.
As you know, this project has been in the works for over six years. It began with a lengthy and detailed community plan on the future development of the Royster property. Funds for the library were initially approved four years ago at the same time we approved an overall plan for the Royster site. Since then, library supporters and the Friends of Pinney Library have raised well over $1 million for its construction. The fundraising effort will continue over the next two years.
Despite the strong show of support and the need for expanded library services, the project hit a number of roadblocks, most of which were unrelated to the library. However, with the granting of a TIF loan of $820,000 for the Royster Corners development and millions more for the reconstruction of Cottage Grove Road, the project should get underway soon.
What's next? The city retained the architectural firm, OPN, to design the new library. (I mistakenly wrote in the last newsletter that OPN designed the Central Library. They did not.) They have designed many libraries and other public buildings throughout the Midwest- some of them have been award-winning.
I've met with the architects of OPN and they are committed to working with interested community members, library staff and other stakeholders on designing a library that will meet the needs of its Eastside patrons for decades to come.
Meeting on Cottage Grove Rd. Plan:
The final meeting on the Cottage Grove Rd. planning process will be held on Monday, July 10 at 6 PM in the main hall of Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The purpose of the meetings and other activities has been to gather community perspectives on the future development of the intersections of Cottage Grove Rd and Monona Dr. and Acewood.
With the movement of Pinney Library out of its current space and the poor condition of the existing property, this will be a prime location for at least one future development. If apartment houses are proposed, how tall should they be? Should they be different heights? Should retail outlets be required? Similar questions are relevant for the Acewood site that formerly housed the Sentry supermarket.
After three community meetings, a retail consultant, and an online survey, staff of the Planning Dept. will present some of the results of these activities for discussion. These results will then be forwarded to the Plan Commission which develops guidelines for development. I hope you will be able to attend this meeting.
Biergarten is Now Open for Business:
The Biergarten at Olbrich Park quietly opened for business this week. The Official Opening is this weekend. They have a few locally brewed beers, soft drinks, brats, huge pretzels and a nice view of the lake. Their neighbor, Rutabaga Sports, rents paddle boards and kayaks. I'm told that on sunny days, they have been renting all of their kayaks so you may want to use their on-line reservation service.
Are Explosions Patriotic?
July 4th is next week. Perhaps that explains why someone decided to set off an explosion a few blocks from my home at 11:30 PM. The detonated device was sufficiently loud and frightening to get our shaking dog to hide under our bed.
Was this an act of patriotism? Are these explosions celebrations of our freedom? Was it "fun" to wake the neighbors and really scare the folks who live a few hundred feet closer to the actual explosion? Do they know we're not "free" to set off explosive devices?
Unfortunately, an evening of firecrackers and shooting stars was enough fun a few decades ago. Now "the celebration" has expanded into a week and sometimes two weeks (a week before and a week after) of ever-greater explosions. Some of these devices literally sound like bombs and must be particularly unsettling to those who have experienced real bombs.
If you have a neighbor who is engaged in this childish and illegal activity, I urge you to call the MPD non-emergency line and report the explosions at 255-2345. We all may sleep better for it.
Hope you're having a good summer so far. If you have any questions or concerns on city policies or programs please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 334-1156.
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