What is 4151 Nakoosa Trail?
By Mahanth Joishy, Superintendent
You may know that 4151 Nakoosa Trail is a 110,000 square foot City building opened in 2021 that is headquarters for City of Madison Fleet and also Radio Communications, with working garage bays for auto mechanics and radio technicians, a giant parts room, and administrative spaces that we operate 6am-10pm all week, and now weekends as well. Check out this awesome drone footage of the building by C.D. Smith.
You may know that it is the first municipal auto garage in America to achieve LEED GOLD certification from US Green Business Council for its environmental features, including 248 rooftop solar panels (with over 500 more being installed right now by the Madison Green Power program), solar EV charging, a solar heating wall, fleet EV charging, public EV charging, and employee EV charging. It’s where we’ve installed over 1,000 soybean oil tires and run one of the largest fleet biodiesel programs in America. Great job by City Engineering on achieving this certification for Madison.
But it’s much more. Hollywood movies like The Shining and other haunted house horror movies depict buildings as living, breathing organisms… that’s what Nakoosa Trail is too.
What makes an auto garage special anyway?
This one is an elite educational institution, with a constant stream of outstanding local high school and technical college apprentices working on data analysis, supply chain logistics, and hands-on mechanical work side by side with Fleet employees, year-round. The building is a celebration of all City government, as every City agency is deeply involved in partnering with Fleet and Radio Communications on vehicle and equipment operations, acquisitions, fueling, and maintenance. Beyond that, it’s a celebration of the City community itself.
Nakoosa Trail is a busy early voting and voting location for every election, and will continue to be. In fact this is where I perform the sacred duty to vote. It is the main space for meetings and negotiations with municipal labor unions and employee associations including Teamsters, Local 236, Police, Fire, and others. It’s an employee training center, featuring classes on defensive driving for City drivers and other topics. It’s a well-appointed break room for any City employee. It is prepped to be a backup Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the City response, as needed. As mentioned it’s a public EV charging location.
At the ribbon cutting in June 2021, Nakoosa Trail opened its doors to the Madison public and beyond as a booming party venue featuring 4 live local bands, a food hall featuring 3 local food carts, a 1960s antique Madison fire truck next to North America’s very first operational electric fire truck in action with MFD and manufactured here in Wisconsin by Pierce, electric vehicle ride and drives, a hackathon, tours, a childrens’ mock election by Clerk’s Office, welcome remarks by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway; and 300 members of the public in attendance.
Speaking of tours, Nakoosa Trail is partly, and somewhat unexpectedly, an auto repair museum giving a steady stream of tours to a nationwide audience because of its special nature. Here is just a small sample of government officials, educational institutions, and others who have been given detailed personal tours since the opening:
Governor Tony Evers
Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes
Former Mayor Paul Soglin
Former Mayor Susan J. M. Bauman
City of Kafining, the Gambia, West Africa
WISDOT Secretary Craig Thompson
Wisconsin State Patrol
Wisconsin Public Service Commission
Wisconsin Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy
Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation
Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum
Dane County Office of Sustainability
South Carolina Department of Education
“Fabulous Farm Babe” Pam Jahnke
City of Madison Wanda Fullmore interns
City of Madison AASPIRE interns
Madison College students and staff
Madison Metropolitan School District HQ
LaFollette High School students and staff
East High School students and staff
West High School students and staff
Shabazz High School students and staff
Memorial High School students and staff
Wisconsin State Journal
All Madison TV stations
National Biodiesel Board
Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board
City of Ames, Iowa
City of Skokie, Illinois
City of Middleton
City of Sun Prairie
City of Milwaukee
City of Racine
City of Verona
City of Fitchburg
City of Stoughton
City of Monona
Wisconsin Clean Cities Coalition
United States Green Business Council
CMD Alternative Energy Solutions
EV Energy Group
Most importantly of all, the essential City employees from two divisions who work at Nakoosa Trail have never stopped (digitally) punching in on the clock physically, to service our customer departments day in and day out, days nights and weekends, with no break in service and no dip in our detailed daily quality metrics despite a multi-year, raging pandemic. Most of us are pretty friendly… :)
If you haven’t yet, you really ought to come by and say hi to Nakoosa Trail.