Monona sets 2021 goals

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

Trail updates, sewer maintenance and property annexation are among the goals the city of Monona has for 2021. City administrator Barb Collins proposed the objectives—some of which are holdovers from previous years—at the city council’s Jan. 4 meeting.

This year, thanks in large part to a REAP grant, Monona will extend its Butterfly Trail from Gateway Park to the intersection of Main and Spruce streets. The extension will improve access to and from Gateway Park’s campsites and new playground. Once the recreational trail plans are completed, Collins said the city will know how much it will have to contribute toward the project.

There are also plans to continue hard surfacing the existing gravel portions of the Butterfly Trail. 

“The people who use the hard surface ones just love them so much better, and there’s little to no maintenance when you don’t have them washing away,” Collins noted.

Another grant—$6,000 from the Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation—will help complete a trailhead-kiosk-map project. The city and Monona Chamber and Economic Development, Inc., have partnered to build two cement Butterfly trailheads with covered stone kiosks housing large, city-wide trail maps showing public amenities, gardens and parks. 

Two additional goals would further aid people traveling around the community. That includes the street surface rehab of Darby Drive and the completion of the residential sidewalk rehab project, which began in 2019.

“In our spare time, hopefully we can get the city to do a couple of our corners that aren’t ADA compliant and send letters back to the people who did not get [their sidewalks] done,” Collins said. “We gave them a year grace period. We want to get that back on board.”

Another area Monona plans to focus on is its sewer system. Collins indicated the city would like to clean and televise another 20 to 25 percent of the sewer and hopefully replace some manholes. 

“We do not currently need to replace any fire hydrants,” she told the council.

The city will also continue investigating sanitary sewer inflow and infiltration. Peoples Service has requested that the council budget for additional lining to help alleviate issues. 

“When it rains, that water goes into the ground, and some of it goes into your sewer lines,” if there’s a hole or the line is cracked, Collins said. “Then we have to treat it all.”

“Our sewer lines that run down the middle of the street, they’re cracked in places and falling apart. Instead of digging everything up and putting all new in, a company comes in and squirts stuff in there that expands and creates a new interior lining. We have no water coming in, then, through our sewer mains,” she further explained. “If we had the whole city done, then we would know, if there’s still lots of water, then it’s coming from the homeowners, and it means their sewer line could be cracked.”

Half the city has already been lined. It’s made a notable difference, said councilman Andrew Meyer.

“A lot of what we did was to the east [of Main Street]. Both the northeast lift station and southeast lift station, every time it rained we would be bypassing. The lift station itself couldn’t handle the water coming in,” he said. “After doing all that, we haven’t bypassed since at the northeast, and the southeast only a couple times.”

Additional 2021 goals include the annexation of property south of Highway 18/52 and west of Falcon Avenue into the city limits, as well as extending city utilities to the area. Three property owners—representing six parcels—requested voluntary annexation. That includes Kwik Star, which originally prompted the conversation due to plans to expand at its location just off Highway 18/52. Once the state approves the annexation, Collins said the city will go through the process of recording it. 

“Once it’s recorded, we set it up as a TIF area to help pay for the project and work on a developer’s agreement on how we’re paying for this with Kwik Star,” she stated. “There are lots of steps, so you’ll be hearing a lot of that.”

Collins also brought up purchasing iPads for city council members, to cut down on the use and waste of paper, and suggested installing a lighted message board in the city parking lot.

“So people know they can pull into our parking lot for 30 seconds and just read everything on there instead of not seeing it on cable television, or they don’t have Facebook,” she said. “There’s just so many places people are getting information, and this is one place where they’d know something will be up there all the time. They’re not overly expensive.”

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