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
Highway 51: Although winter has just begun, it is not too early to start thinking about Wisconsin's other season: highway construction. The major project for our area will be the replacement of the road surface of Stoughton Rd. Anyone who has driven on it knows a major repair is overdue.
The project will take place over two years: Northbound lanes will be resurfaced next summer (2015) and southbound in 2017. Additionally, the Cottage Grove Rd. southbound bridge will be replaced and the ramp reconstructed in the Fall, 2015.
Construction will require some lane closures but that should be limited to evening and night hours. Each segment of the project will begin in June and take 3-4 months to complete.
Stoughton Rd. was resurfaced in 1996 and 1967 and initially constructed in 1951.
It is unknown what the impact of this project will be on the state's proposal to completely reconstruct the highway in 2021-22.
Milwaukee St Bridge: The bridge at Milwaukee St and Fair Oaks will be replaced next summer. It's been in bad shape for some time and had emergency repairs last summer. The construction of a replacement bridge will close that entrance to Milwaukee St for a month. Also, in conjunction with the replacement will be improvements in the intersection.
Park Shelters: The community had an opportunity to review the proposed new park shelter for Lake Edge Park on Dempsey. This shelter will be the prototype for future park shelters throughout the city. Communities will choose colors of stone and the woodwork but the design will be uniform.
The response from the neighbors of Lake Edge Park to the designs presented by the Parks Department was quite positive. One of the major improvements will be the demolition of the ugly restrooms which is now a separate building and instead have one structure. The building will have a more "open look" and still face the playground area.
It was requested that the old brown picnic tables be replaced with new tables that are consistent with the new building style. Construction is expected to begin late Summer/early Fall.
It is expected that the shelter at Olbrich Park will be replaced next year as well.
New Water (Conservation) Rates: Do you remember how frequently water mains broke last winter? Much of the reason for the record number of main breaks was due to the below zero temperatures and the age of the water mains. Most of the water mains in our part of the eastside are more than 50 years old and are the original water and sewer mains. Replacing these mains costs about $1 million per mile and the city has 400 miles to replace in the next 20 years.
The city pumps 10 billion gallons of water per year through those mains. Using this much water draws down aquifers as well as local streams. Pumping billions of gallons of water from deep aquifers to our homes makes the water utility the largest user of energy of all city services.
To address the problem of heavy water use, the city has conducted various conservation measures such as promoting the use of low-flow toilets.
Another strategy is "conservation pricing" or paying more for greater use of water. For example, those using more than 14,000 gallons per month will about twice as much for the water used above 14,000 gallons than those who use less than 3,000 gallons per month. This affects only a small percentage of residences.
Note that commercial and industrial users will face significant rate hikes as well.
Garver Feed Mill: I am member of the Garver Feed Mill Selection Committee. We have received four proposals for re-development of the site.They are all quite different in their vision and their cost. Our first meeting of the committee since receipt of the proposals is Wednesday. At that meeting I look forward to hearing the views of the other committee members and a financial and engineering analysis by the city staff.
The Committee has scheduled four meetings to review the Garver Feed Mill proposals. They are scheduled for:
Jan 7, 2015 (6 PM) – Madison Municipal Building (MMB) 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Room 300
Jan 22, 2015 (5 PM) – MMB Room 300
Feb 26, 2015 (5 PM) – MMB Room 300
March 18, 2015 (5 PM) – To Be Determined
All proposals for the Garver Feed Mill can be found at either the Project Website or the City of Madison's Legistar home page. The links to these two sites are:
As the process continues, I am interested in your thoughts on the direction that the city should take on this complex and costly project.
Feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 334-1156 on issues discussed here or other concerns related to the city.
Happy New Year.
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