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
December 2015 Update from Alder David Ahrens
The Highway 51 ramp will open in early December with a safer entrance lane. The exact date is not established due to unknown weather conditions. The new entrance to the highway will give us an extra separate lane to safely enter the highway. The new road and bridge will be completed next September.
Once a Sentry Foods, Now a Recreation Center. Madison Schools Community Recreation (MSCR) will open a new recreation center at the former Sentry Foods on Cottage Grove Rd. (Rolling Meadows Shopping Center) in January.
This new facility will have activity rooms to hold a variety of MSCR classes for all ages. Programs will include family, youth, adult, and 50+ fitness classes as well as arts and enrichment classes.
MSCR has a new registration system. All (new and returning) customers need to create a new account. Registration for MSCR Winter & Spring 2016 classes begins November 30 for Residents of the Madison Metropolitan School District. For more information, go to www.mscr.org or call 204-3000.
MGE's new initiative: Last year MGE proposed a very regressive proposal that would have doubled our "fixed" or base charges and given incentives to use more, rather than less, power. In response, I sponsored a resolution that required the city to file a case against the proposal with the PSC. Many other organizations opposed the proposal as well and in response MGE modified its proposal.
More important was that MGE clearly understood that the community did not only want a fairer payment system but a long-term program that would reduce the utility's dependence on coal and other fossil fuels.
In response, MGE has announced a plan that will reduce fossil fuel emissions by 25% in the next ten years and 40% by 2030. They have also pledged not to seek an increase in the fixed rates paid by consumers in the next few years.
I view this as a substantial and meaningful commitment by MGE that will change the size of our "carbon footprint" for years to come. This will require continued engagement and discussions with MGE as well as examination of their plans to implement these changes.
Local Layoffs: Oscar Mayer, Tyson Foods, BouMatic have announced closings or major layoffs over the past month. Over 1,000 jobs will be lost at Oscar Mayer, 400 jobs at Tyson Foods (Jefferson) and 59 jobs at BouMatic on Hwy 51. All of these closings and job losses will not just be limited to these employers. Each relied on hundreds of other suppliers and service industry workers from auto repair shops to local restaurants. For example, the city will lose a $1M in property taxes and the Water Utility will lose the same amount in its billing.
Workers will feel the real brunt of the layoffs. Most have been very long-term employees and will need to be retrained and get assistance in finding jobs. The city's economic development policy has focused on spending millions on attracting out-of-city employers instead of assisting local employers expand and most importantly improving the quality of basic services.
Snow Plowing: You probably noticed that residential streets were not plowed last week following the four inch snowfall. The next day most streets were covered with rutted ice which made driving uncomfortable- at best. By the following day, however, most of the ice melted. The city's Streets Division will focus on plowing major roads, bus routes, etc. in the event of lower snowfalls or when temperature is expected to rise. Also, trucks will use much less salt due to its negative impact on the lakes and our water supply. Instead they will continue to spray a brine solution prior to the snowfall which will reduce the accumulated level. This has been found to be effective without adverse effects on the environment.
Cottage Grove Road/Dempsey Reconstruction: Local residents met with the city's Engineering Dept to listen to and comment on the plans to reconstruct Cottage Grove Rd. and Dempsey Rd. This will be a major construction project that will continue from Spring 2016 to Fall 2016. During this period, Cottage Grove Rd will have new water and sewer lines and new pavement. There will also be bike lanes in both directions and pedestrian medians and islands from Monona Dr. to Clare St. The street will also have a much different look because overhead lines will be removed and with it all of the old utility poles. Street lights will be updated as well.
Dempsey Rd. from Cottage Grove Rd to Anchor Dr. will also be reconstructed along with a new infrastructure. However, the street itself will not be redesigned.
Some of the concerns raised by residents concerned the need for a stop light at Maher and Cottage Grove Rd due to the traffic coming from the Royster Corners development site. Although there are no immediate plans to install a light, the city will install the electrical infrastructure needed for a light if the need is established. There was also interest in installing a left turn signal at the Dempsey/Cottage Grove intersection.
Another concern was the speeding on Dempsey Rd. There are no stop signs or signals on the street between Cottage Grove and Woodman's. This is a problem for all pedestrians but especially for the students of St. Dennis School. I'd like to see speed bumps installed on the approach to the school on both sides of the street. Although they are inconvenient they have been shown to be effective in slowing most cars down.
iSupporting Pinney Library: Building a library is an expensive undertaking. The city will spend well over $10 million on the new library. Ruedebusch Co. has contributed more than a million. But the community has to support its construction as well. In this effort, we will be assisted by the Madison Public Library Foundation. The Foundation and its local affiliate, Friends of Pinney Library will launch the $2.5 million Capital Campaign for a new Pinney Library on Giving Tuesday, December 1. The main event will be a day-long fund drive and a family friendly Kickoff Party at the Harmony Bar & Grill, 2201 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704, from 4–6 p.m. The event will include live music by Treemo! (Giving Tuesday is dedicated to making charitable contributions in place of holiday shopping.)
Throughout the day on Giving Tuesday, the foundation invites the public to make a donation to the Pinney campaign to maximize the $50,000 challenge grant from Lau & Bea Christensen and Madison Gas & Electric Foundation. Donations will be matched dollar for dollar. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door. I'll see you there!
For more information about how you can help build the new Pinney Library, visit mplfoundation.org/pinney.
If you have any questions or concerns about city policies or services you can reach me at either firstname.lastname@example.org or at 334-1156. Have a good Holiday Season.
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