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
August News: Buckeye Rd, Milwaukee St Plans, Garver and More
This newsletter is a little earlier than usual because there are a number of meetings and events coming up in the next few days that may be of interest to you.
Will We Rebuild Buckeye Rd?
The dispute over whether the County or the City should pay for the future maintenance costs of Buckeye and Cottage Grove Rd. threatens to kill the 2019 project altogether. If the governments cannot agree on reasonable terms, we will lose millions in federal assistance and the project will be postponed for years to come.
I and other eastside Alders and County Bd supervisors believe that this is an unacceptable outcome and that some compromise is necessary to reach an agreement.
Together, we developed a resolution that would require the County to withdraw its proposal to transfer the responsibility for repairing the roads from it to the City. In return, the County would share the cost of rebuilding the road and the city would take responsibility for plowing every year (it now does it every other year) and committing it to on-going maintenance. Under this agreement, the federal government would pay about one-third of the costs of the rebuilding.
The Mayor's position was and continues to be that there should be no compromise whatsoever. We would lose millions of dollars under the guise of fighting for an insignificant principle. He went so far as to denounce me and my colleagues as "traitors" and that the compromise was the "stupidest" proposal he had seen in 50 years.
As noted in the article, I think that most people don't really care whether the County pays a dollar from its treasury or the City pays from its treasury. The bottom line is that if an agreement is not reached in the next two weeks, the federal funds will be lost and the project will not take place. Stay tuned.
Milwaukee St. Plan: The latest draft of the plan for Milwaukee St (from Fair Oaks Ave. to Stoughton Rd) will be presented and discussed on:
Wednesday, July 25, 6:30-8 PM
Goodman Community Center
This will be a fairly comprehensive plan that includes transportation, parks, housing and commercial goals. Note, this is the first step in a process, not the end. After further revisions following the comments and feedback from community members, the plan will be reviewed by city committees including transportation and planning and then the Council.
The Future of Madison Government:
About year or so ago, I and my soon-to-be-retiring colleague, Ald. Mark Clear proposed changes to the city government that would have provided a more equitable balance between the Mayor and the Common Council. After he denounced the proposal as a path that would "destroy" the city, the Council and Mayor agreed to appoint a Task Force on Government Structure (the TFOGS).
The TFOGS has been meeting for about six months and is now conducting its meetings at sites around the city. The next meeting will be held at Pinney Library on Monday, July 30 at 6 PM. If you would like to provide comments to the Committee, please be sure to get there at 6 because public comments are the first order of business. Thus far, I have not attended any meetings but I plan to attend this one.
What Should We Do With Garver?
We learned a few weeks ago, that the agreement to build dozens of"little lodges" behind the Garver Mill has been terminated. After literally years of waiting, the developer did not satisfactorily respond to the city's requests to provide documentation that the project had financing.
You may recall, that the project would have resulted in the construction of dozens of individual cottages in the acreage behind the Garver Mill. The builders would have received a 99-year lease from the city for $1. In addition, the city would have had to spend almost $2 million to remediate environmental problems around the site.
The question now is, what should we do with the many acres on the site that have been largely cleared of brush and hills of mulch? No doubt, this developer and perhaps others will attempt to cut a different deal. But there has been popular support for use of part of the large site for a dog park and restoration of the remainder of the area to its earlier prairie state. I think the city made a mistake in its earlier decision. It's not often that we get a second chance.
Great Volunteer Opportunity: Like to get out and around the city? Or do you enjoy the Dane County Farmers Market? Interested in helping provide food for community pantries?
To sign up for Farmers' Market gleaning, click http://www.volunteeryourtime.org/need/detail/?need_id=344149
To learn more about becoming a CAC Gleaner, contact Lindsey Karls at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 246-4730 x207.
Thinking About Going Solar?
In the past two years, eighty Madison homeowners have installed solar with MadiSUN, a city program to encourage the use of solar power! In MadiSUN, Madison residents come together to purchase and install solar systems as a community. By buying together, we lower the cost for each participant.
Thanks to improvements in solar technology, the cost of solar has never been lower. Plus, homeowners can receive a Federal Tax Credit for 30% of the cost of their system and Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program offers up to $2,000 in additional rebates. Homes that don't qualify for Focus on Energy Incentives can apply for a MadiSun rebate. MadiSUN also offers excellent financing terms through the new Solar Energy Loan Program, in partnership with Summit Credit Union.
Utilizing a competitive process MadiSUN has selected solar installation contractors that provide high-quality service and convenience at the most competitive prices. When participants sign up, MadiSUN refers them to the selected company for a free site assessment and customized proposal.
If you are interested, contact a MadiSUN representative and they will follow-up with you to discuss if solar is viable for your home and guide you through a few simple steps to a solar-powered home.
Contact RENEW Wisconsin at email@example.com or at 255-4044.
Note that to participate in the program you must sign up by September 16, 2018
Ho-Chunk and Starkweather Creek:
There will be a presentation by representatives of Ho-Chunk Tribe (Ho-Chunk People of the DeJope) and the Midwest Environmental Justice Organization on the history and current challenges of Starkweather Creek. Starkweather is the main tributary to Lake Monona.
The talks and discussion will be on Wednesday, July 25 at 6:30 PM at East Madison Community Center at 8 Straubel Court. A free meal will be served following the presentations.
I hope you are having a good summer.
If you would like to comment on any city policy or service or this newsletter, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 334 1156.
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