Four Dane County communities are up for funding to enhance bicycle and recreational trail connections, including improvements to a heavily-used commuter route along University Avenue in the village of Shorewood Hills.
The Dane County Board at its regular meeting Thursday evening will consider $500,000 in projects under the Partners for Recreation and Conservation (PARC) & Ride Bicycle Trail Grant Program.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Room 201 of the City-County Building and is open to the public.
The board will also hear remarks from outgoing Supervisors Jenni Dye and Jeff Pertl, who have resigned their seats after taking new positions in the administration of Gov. Tony Evers. The Board will then vote to elect new first and second vice-chairs to leadership positions.
The PARC & Ride program was included in the 2018 County Budget to provide matching grants to communities interested in expanding regional trail interconnectivity. PARC & Ride grants are intended to match local dollars and are sponsored by local units of government.
One project in the village of Shorewood Hills Village will provide an extension of the Blackhawk Path along University Avenue between Marshall Court and University Bay Drive. Supervisor Jeremy Levin (District 10, Madison) said the extension will provide an important link for both commuter and recreational cyclists.
“The Madison area already has an abundance of bicycle routes and this will improve access to a safe, off-road trail through a congested spot,” Levin said. “Additionally, I’m happy it will not alter the long-established tradition of the University Avenue holiday lights.”
Other PARC & Ride projects up for approval Thursday include a north-south connection between the Glacial Drumlin State Trail and McCarthy County Park in the village of Cottage Grove; the village of Windsor’s Wolf Hollow bicycle/pedestrian bridge which will provide a connection between the Upper Yahara River Trail and Token Creek County Park; and a connection between CamRock County Park and the Glacial Drumlin State Trail in the village of Cambridge.
Also Thursday, the Board will vote on accepting an $83,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Justice that will be used to address the disproportionate amount of contact between minorities and law enforcement officials.
For the last decade, Dane County has researched and recognized the racial inequities between youth of color and white youth -- as well as adults-- in the corresponding criminal justice systems. It has implemented policy and procedural changes, highlighted by restorative justice models in both the youth and adult systems.
But the racial equity gap has persisted even while overall arrest numbers have declined in Dane County. The state grant will be used to continue seeking a long-term solution to the issue, with a report due by July 2019.
“Listening and working with youth of color to better address the racial inequalities in this community and in our systems is imperative to creating real solutions to racial injustice,” said Supervisor Jamie Kuhn (District 16, Madison) who serves on the County Board’s Office for Equity and Inclusion Partners in Equity Grant Subcommittee. “This is a good step forward.”
In other action Thursday, the board will consider the makeup of the Alliant Energy Center Redevelopment Committee, which will work to develop an approach to keep the county-owned Alliant Energy Center self-supporting while enhancing its current role as a world-class destination. The long-term goal is to make the Alliant Energy Center a catalyst for growth and economic vitality for the entire area.
A recently completed Master Plan identifies several phases for the development of the campus, relying on both public and private investment.
The plan calls for expansion of the Exhibition Hall, new parking, landscaping, storm water improvements and a new entry drive. Research indicates an initial public investment of $90 million would stimulate more than $205 million in private investment at the campus, creating 1,400 new jobs and generating nearly $3 million in annual local property, sales and room taxes.
“We know there are tremendous opportunities for the Alliant Energy Center campus so now it’s just a question of getting down to the hard work of putting it all together,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan (District 26, Middleton). “This committee will feature a wide range of stakeholders who can help us turn this vision into reality.”