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

Construction zones, homeless and wild animals of the eastside

July 27, 2015 10:23 AM

Milwaukee St Bridge:  The long-awaited and greatly needed replacement of the Milwaukee St (and Fair Oaks) bridge will get underway this week. (You may recall, last summer the bridge needed an emergency installation of supports.)  The project is expected to last until early November.

Milwaukee Street east of Fair Oaks Avenue and the bridge will close, Tuesday, July 28th and will be closed for the duration of the project. A signed detour will be provided.

Milwaukee Street west of Fair Oaks Avenue and the intersection will be phased to maintain one lane of traffic. Access will be maintained to driveways unless work is directly in front of the driveway.Travel delays are expected during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The project includes replacing the bridge, reconstructing the intersection, and improving underground utilities, lighting and traffic signals.  Additional information about the project can be found on the City's Engineering Projects webpage:


Chip-sealing Streets: This summer, a number of streets in Lake Edge will be chip-sealed. Briefly, the process is to spread an oil-tar mixture, spray fine pebbles, re-spray with more tar and then use a heavy roller once and then a sweeper. A week later, the street is rolled and swept again. Chip-sealing creates quite a bit of dust and dirt both on the street and in homes. In short, for about two weeks, it's a noisy, smelly and dirty mess. On the upside, it's an inexpensive and fairly effective means of preserving streets and it's only done about every six years.

Notices will be sent to residents with information on how to minimize the problems. The streets to be chip-sealed this summer are:

Maher Ave between Stanley Ct and Cottage Grove Rd

Morningside Ave

Bowman Ave

Gary St.

Quaker Ct

Stanley Ct

 Rahel St.

Resurfacing Streets: Next summer, the city has scheduled resurfacing a number of major streets in the area.. The resurfacing includes grinding and repaving the street, sometimes replacing curbs and potentially water and sewer lines. Early in 2016, the Dept. of Public Works will hold informational meetings on the project and potential costs to homeowners.

At this time, the major streets slated for repair are:

 -Dempsey from Anchor to Cottage Grove Rd.

- Cottage Grove Rd from Monona Dr to Claire St.

- Walter St. from Milwaukee St to Hargrove Rd.

- Sargent St. from Walter St. to Dennett.

Construction of the Lake Edge Shelter: You've probably noticed that there is quite a surge in construction activity around the city- and the nation. Two effects of the boom are sharp increases in price and long project delays. Both effects have been borne by the planned new shelter at Lake Edge Park. The initial bids were so much higher than estimated, the project was re-bid. The second time around, the price was still high and the contractor was available only at the very end of summer. This means the new Shelter will be completed in November- just in time for winter.

The higher cost of construction will strain the city's budget now and in the long term. Projects such as replacing the antiquated Water Utility repair shops on Paterson St. will likely cost $1 million more than expected. Similar cost spikes are likely for the City Fleet repair center to be built at the old Cub Foods on Nakoosa Trail. This means delayed projects and more borrowing. Currently, about 15% of our property taxes are used to pay debt for major projects. This could go as high as 20% in a few years if all of the "scheduled" projects are completed.

I think we will need to reconsider many of these projects until prices are not as high or when we can get financial assistance from the state and federal governments.                               

Housing for Homeless: One example of collaboration by many governmental units to fund projects is the 60-unit apartment complex on Rethke and E. Washington Ave. In order to build this $7 million project, $ 1 million was contributed by the City and County, and the Federal/State governments lent the remaining costs through the WHEDA program.

Building starts this week for this project which will provide supportive permanent housing for 60 single adults who have been homeless. The housing will consist of small single-room apartment along with counseling to assist individuals in making the adjustment of getting off of the street.

I look forward to the City and County working together on additional projects such as a day shelter and a stand-alone night shelter. Greater effort on addressing the long-term problems of homeless individuals is more constructive than engaging in blaming and vilifying various groups and individuals.

Dogs, Raccoons, Turkeys and Turtles:  This month, I've received an unusual number of complaints about animals. The most common and important complaints are about dogs. Or more precisely, dog owners that do not keep their dogs on a leash when walking or behind a secure fence. This has become a common problem particularly in the Eastmorland area. As someone who walks around a lot, I can say it is no fun to be calmly walking down the street and have an unchained and barking dog charge out of an alley.

In response to this problem, I asked the Animal Control section of the Health Dept. to increase its patrols in Eastmorland in the evenings when owners are more likely to have their pets outside.

I've also received complaints about residents that are unlawfully keeping raccoons as pets. Neighbors have had their gardens ripped up and basement windows gnawed. Raccoons may be cute as babies but they are a nuisance and danger when older. Similarly, there was a complaint of a resident keeping large snapping turtles. Animal Control will notify the DNR of this problem.

Finally, turkeys. Animal Control noted that there are flocks of wild turkeys that reside in the corn field on Milwaukee St. Individual and small groups of turkeys leave the farm and wander around the neighborhood. They are "wild animals" and not under the jurisdiction of the city. The city can petition the DNR for the turkeys to be "controlled."  More immediately, they are not friendly to humans and do not want to be approached. Keep a good distance and you'll both enjoy your walk.

 Note:  Concert at Olbrich Park, this Thursday, July 30 called the Silk Road Sessions.

Here's the schedule for that evening:
5:00-- Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble
6:30--- Dengue Fever (LA /Cambodia)
8:30--- Hanggai (Inner Mongolia)

If you have any concerns/comments about city issues, you contact me at or at 334-1156.

Have a good summer!


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