Cottage Grove Road Activity Centers Plan


The Cottage Grove Road Activity Centers Plan was approved by the Common Council on October 3, 2017.

The City is undertaking a planning effort to analyze opportunities for creating exciting and viable neighborhood activity nodes along Cottage Grove Road.  It will address land use, urban design, and connectivity to the abutting residential neighborhoods. City Staff will be managing and performing most of the work associated with this plan, but have hired Place Dynamics, as a market analysis consultant to aid City staff in helping to set expectations for realistic development potential for the corridor. The market study will also help identify potential barriers to redevelopment of the area with the recommended land uses, so that these barriers may be addressed by the plan


Public Meeting Summary:
Meeting #3: July 2017
City Planning Staff  worked to consider all of the input received from our first two public meetings, online surveys, business roundtables, neighborhood association comments, stakeholder interviews, as well as individual contacts and input that we have received from many of you out in the community.

This meeting offered residents, property owners, businesses, and other stakeholders an opportunity to voice your opinions on the draft goals, recommendations and future of these important commercial centers.

Draft Market Study Analysis:
Cottage Grove Road Activity Centers Market Analysis Draft

Preliminary Market Analysis Findings indicate that the corridor shows a great potential for new housing units at both Activity Centers. A continuing demand for housing includes the potential for a range of residential development, from smaller scale townhouses to senior housing and other multi-family development types. Some very limited retail could accompany some of this development.

  • Atwood Center: This center has the most potential for new retail, restaurant, office and service uses. As development from Schenk-Atwood begins to fill in, business will be looking for the next area for redevelopment opportunities along the Willy-Atwood-Monona corridor.
  • Acewood Center: This area  is a much tougher sell for new retail. There is greater competition to the east, and the site lacks anchors. There may be an opportunity for some limited entrepreneurial or co-working space opportunities, but housing may be the best option for redevelopment.

Meeting #2: March 2017
Approximately 15 neighbors came to Messiah Lutheran Church to hear a presentation on preliminary Market Study Findings, as well as partake in a visual preference survey of new development types, and give feedback on conceptual redevelopment ideas for both the Atwood and Acewood Activity Centers. There was general dismay and disappointment about the lack of retail opportunities as described by market findings, but a general consensus in favor of fairly dense housing redevelopment. Concerns were also expressed regarding the potential negative impacts of construction on the existing businesses and that consideration should be given to phasing large-scale (re)development to mitigate the adverse impacts of construction.

Meeting #1: January 2017
Approximately 55 neighbors came to Olbrich Gardens to discuss their ideas, desires and concerns about the future of the Atwood/Acewood Activity Centers. Feedback was fairly unanimous in the desire to support existing local businesses, encourage potential redevelopment, and support/increase pedestrian, bike and recreational and social opportunities for people of all ages. Concerns included increased traffic, business turnover, vacant storefronts, and declining nature of the two activity centers.  

Electronic Survey:
Since there were so few attendees to the March meeting, Planning Staff put together an impromptu electronic survey about different redevelopment ideas. Over 150 people responded to the survey. A quick preview of the results illustrates the following:

  • Common Consensus Comments:
    • Desire for existing businesses remain and thrive!
    • Interested in open space and community gardens
    • Worried about traffic impacts of new development
    • Want to live in a walkable interesting neighborhood
    • Want more activities for people of all ages
  • Common Divergent Themes:
    • Either interested in new urban 4-5 story mixed use development   ...Or... no development over 2-3 stories
    • Concerned about Busse Street extension, although there was some support for the curved option to Johns Street
    • Concerned about too much density. .. Or... concerned that retail won't be viable without more density
    • Varied opinions on future land uses, mixed response on senior housing, retail and other uses
    • Varied opinions on building design and layout

Study Area

The project will focus on two identified mixed use nodes along Cottage Grove Road from Atwood Avenue to Interstate 39/90.  These focus areas will extend approximately one block north and south of Cottage Grove Road.  However, the larger context will need to be considered.


CGR Activity Nodes Study Area

Background Information

Project Brochure

CG Brochure

Click on image for full size brochure


Project Schedule

Phase 1: Baseline Data Gathering (November 2016-February 2017)
Public Kick-Off Meeting #1 – Analysis and "Visioning"         
January 31, 2017
Market Analysis Preliminary Report
Results from Kick-off Meeting

Phase 2: Alternative Concept Plans Development (February – March 2017)
Public Meeting #2 - Alternative Concept Plans Discussion (Late March 2017)
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Draft Land Use and Redevelopment Concepts -These concepts were presented only to get feedback on types, size and density for any new development undertaken by property owners and do not reflect actual proposals.

Staff Presentation to Eastmorland Community Association (May 2017)

Phase 3:  Draft Plan Development (April-May 2017)
Public Meeting #3 – Presentation of Preferred Alternatives and Draft Recommendations (May 2017)

Phase 4: Finalize and Adopt Plan (June-September 2017)

Last Updated: 10/19/2017