Alder David Ahrens
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Ahrens’ Updates
The Grove, Milwaukee St, Dog Park, F-35s, Chief Koval and more
Upcoming Events for March.....
Delay of "Grove" Project: The planned housing at Monona Dr. and Cottage Grove Rd. will be delayed for at least year because it did not receive the necessary tax credits that would have brought $7 million to the project. The project, called The Grove, came within a fraction of a point in the complex scoring system of the state housing agency.
The developers, MSP, said that they plan to reapply next year. The "upside" of the delay is that it will give the Pinney Library sufficient time to have the new branch open for a direct move (rather than moving to storage and then the new space).
Despite the delay, the City Plan Commission will hold a hearing for a demolition and conditional use permit next Monday, March 5th at 5:30 PM in Room 201 in the City-County Building.
A Plan for Milwaukee St.: Since the construction of Woodmans' and the Post Office on Milwaukee St and later the building of the Hwy 51 overpass, construction has taken-off in the Milwaukee St corridor all the way to I-90-94 and beyond.
The Voit farm and quarry (at Milwaukee and Fair Oaks Ave.) and adjacent lots are the sole and conspicuous exception to the miles-long development on Milwaukee St. from E. Wash to the Interstate.
Many sites on the north side of Milwaukee St. are under-developed, for sale or may be subject to change in the next few years. This includes the main Madison Post Office which has moved mail processing to Milwaukee, the Metro East Bus Station which may change if the city can embark on a Bus Rapid Transit program and Swiss Colony.
Obviously, this is an area that will likely undergo a major change. Another factor is the scheduled annexation of the Town of Blooming Grove in ten years. Any plans for the area will require their cooperation and agreement.
Instead of looking at the area on a lot-by-lot basis as one and then another business changes, the City Planning Dept. has embarked on an undertaking to develop a unified plan for the entire area on the north side of Milwaukee St. This would include plans for housing, new streets that would extend from the existing streets in Eastmorland and Worthington and a commercial district.
The final product of the Area Plan would help describe the most desirable options. It would not define the outcomes because the development process is largely powered by housing markets, federal assistance and other external forces.
There will be a presentation of the initial work of the city staff on the Milwaukee St. Area Plan on Thursday, April 11 at 6:30 PM. (Location to be determined). It should be an interesting meeting.
Dog Park at Garver? The city's multi-million dollar reconstruction of the Garver Building and 60 hotel cottages is well underway. Most of the work has been in and around the building and the hills of leaf mulch behind it have been cleared.
However, some of the natural area that has been heavily affected by the construction project by the numerous trucks and heavy equipment moving through adjacent wetlands.
An interesting proposal has floated on what to do with multi-acre site between the Garver site and Starkweather Creek: build a dog park.
Eastside dog-owners have complained for years that there is no dog park on the Eastside between downtown and Hwy 51. Dogs and their owners have to travel north to Warner or Sycamore Parks to give their dogs an opportunity to run around and meet other dogs.
I've looked at a preliminary map of the site and its small- about two acres. It will also need significant changes so that it doesn't flood.
Other plans for the area are to move some of the "out" buildings of Olbrich Gardens and to change the ice skating area (not the hockey rink) just outside of Garver.
There will be a meeting to discuss these proposed changes in and around the Garver Park at Olbrich Gardens (Commons Room) on Thursday, March 29th at 6 PM.
F-35s at Truax: Madison is one of two "finalist" cities for placement of the F-35s Air Force jets that will replace the current crop of F-15s and F-16s. For many Eastsiders, the jets have meant incredibly loud sound and vibration at all times of the day. This is especially acute in the summer when windows are open and most practice sessions take place.
It is unknown whether the F-35s are more or less noisy. Because they are a new and complex vehicle, it is not known if they are more or less likely to crash. (Which was not a problem with the current jets.) All and all there has been very little information on the jets other than from new reports which indicate that they are very expensive ($150 million each), require a lot of maintenance and as such, not very reliable.
Tomorrow night, Wednesday, Feb. 28th, at 7-9 PM there will be a Listening Session sponsored by area Alders at the East Madison Community Center at 8 Straubel Ct (in the Truax Houses complex). I don't think we have many answers but we'd like to hear your views.
The Air Force Guard will also hold an informational session next week, Thursday, March 8th from 5-8 PM. The event will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (across from East Towne). I think this may be more of an "Open House" format where representatives of the Air Guard will answer questions, hear concerns or expressions of support.
Koval Community Talk: Police Chief Koval will address the community on Thursday, March 22nd at the Door Creek Community Church at 7 PM. He will share his views on progress in the Department, the OIR consultant's report and will answer questions from the audience.
If you have any room on your schedule for March and want something to do, I have more meetings, both in the day and night, that you can attend. But now I'm late for a meeting of the Water Utility Board.
Remember, you can contact me to discuss your concerns about city policies and services at 608-334-1156 or at email@example.com
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