Alders approved a modified plan for Ashley Field during Tuesday’s Sun Prairie City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
The Sun Prairie Area School District and Bray Architects sought approval to redevelop the existing field, which runs east-west, into a new multi-purpose 4,075-seat stadium that will be situated north-south on the same field area.
Additional parking will also be part of the plan, which does not include the current Prairie Phoenix Academy at 160 South St. as part of its development. The district plans to demolish the building in 2023, after the academy has moved into the current Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School at 220 Kroncke Drive and work with the city to redevelop the parcel, possibly with additional parking.
With its new north-south orientation, spectators will enter through three ticketed gates on the upper plaza level, located at the south end of the field.
Both the west and east sides of the field will have top loaded bleachers with Americans with Disability Act (ADA) accessible ramps from the upper plaza.
According to materials provided by the city, the upper plaza will be level with the parking lot, approximately 20 feet above the playing field, and include restrooms and concession stands. Team and training rooms will be located on the field level below the west bleachers. The venue will be surrounded by a 6-foot tall aluminum fence with multiple gates for exiting events and for emergency cases.
Vehicular access to the stadium will remain from the south end of Kroncke Drive with secondary access off Linnerud Drive.
Two 24-foot wide emergency access drives will connect the site to South Street. The lit multi-use path located north of the venue will provide a connection from the off-street multi-use path on Commercial Avenue to downtown.
A tree-lined promenade connecting the front entrance of Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School (CHUMS) to the ticket window is included in the center of the parking lot for pedestrian access. Bike racks accommodating up to 40 bikes are proposed at the southeast corner of the venue.
But it was bikes that provided the basis for the change in the plan. Instead of requiring the district to extend a bike path to the drop-off area along Kroncke Drive, the city proposed adding bump outs to Kroncke Drive to allow for safe bicycle access from Commercial Avenue. The district will improve existing sidewalk leading to the field from Linnerud Drive into a bike path. The district will also install bike path along the front of CHUMS (soon to be Central Heights Middle School) that will connect with a bike path (currently sidewalk) along the east side of Kroncke Drive.
After some questioning by Mayor Paul Esser, Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD) Buildings & Grounds Director Kevin Sukow said the two sides were in agreement.
The SPASD plans to begin demolition of the Ashley Field bleachers and field as soon as possible, with the goal of completing the stadium in August, 2020 so it can be used for Sun Prairie High School soccer, football and lacrosse this fall.
On Tuesday, September 3, 2019, the council approved contracting with Tyler Technologies to perform the City Assessor duties, complete the reassessment for all commercial properties and the reassessment of one-third of the residential properties for the 2020 assessment year.
The contract will end Sept. 30, 2020 and staff was tasked with hiring a City Assessor. According to city ordinances, the city assessor must be approved by the city council and sworn in by the city clerk. City staff recommended that Michael Weymier with Tyler Technologies be approved as the City Assessor as per the contract with Tyler Technologies until a City Assessor is hired by the city. Alders agreed and approved the request.
Parking changes OK’d
Acting on an approval recommendation from the Public Works Committee, alders approved parking changes on Commercial Avenue, Lane Street and North Street.
Parking will be prohibited on Lane Street from Market Street to 217 feet east of King Street if the city council approves the ordinance change. The city had received requests to restrict Lane Street parking because motorists can’t see around parked cars. City staff said the change would eliminate three to four parking spaces. Sun Prairie BID board members recommended approval of the proposal.
Alders voted to restrict parking in other parts of the city including the North-Windsor Street intersection.
Motorists have complained that they have a hard time turning when cars are parked there. The no parking zone will be extended 10 feet on the west side of North Street both north and south of Windsor Street.
Parking will also be restricted near the driveways of 685 and 691 Commercial Ave. on the south side of the street. City officials said that tractor-trailers have struggled to pull in and out of the driveway when cars are parked near the entrances and have called the police to remove cars.
In a related traffic item, alders also voted to request the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) review and alter the traffic signals at Highway 151 and Windsor Street.
Mayor dismisses sidewalk complaint
Under Citizen Appearances on the agenda, Esser dismissed a complaint by Bob Davis about the sidewalks scheduled to be installed on both sides of Grandview Drive. Davis said it would make more sense to install sidewalks on the opposite side of the street, where a park is located, and leave them only on one side.
Esser explained that the city council’s position is that during all street reconstruction projects, the city will install new sidewalk on both sides of the street where possible.
“So I’m beating a dead horse,” Davis said, adding that the sidewalk will be installed even if neighbors don’t want it.
Neighbors never want the sidewalk, Esser replied.
When Davis persisted, Esser dismissed him saying he had no more to say on the subject.
Consent items approved
The council’s consent agenda, which was approved by alders, contained three items forwarded for approval from the plan commission:
• A request from Token Properties to OK a Miscellaneous Application to combine lots and rezone property at 6332 Portage Road to allow for outdoor storage use and the construction of two personal storage (mini-warehouse) buildings, and a second request approving an amendment to the city Comprehensive Plan to change the land use classification for approximately 0.9 acres of land located at 6332 Portage Road in Token Creek.
• An ordinance approving an amendment to the Habitat for Humanity Addition to Prairie Homes Subdivision General Development Plan (GDP) to increase the residential density by one home on lands located at 1175 Vandenburg St.; and
• An ordinance approving an amendment to the West Prairie Village Planned GDP to allow six-foot high fences on lots adjacent to Grand Avenue.
—Jennifer Fetterly contributed to this story