February 21, 2019
Sharon Corrigan, County Board Chair 608.333.2285
County Board

Will address colleagues at Thursday meeting


A leading member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors, Mary Kolar of Madison, is stepping down after accepting a cabinet position with Governor Tony Evers.


Kolar will deliver farewell remarks to the Board at its regular meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. in Room 201 of the City-County Building.


As the representative of District 1 downtown Madison since April 2013, Kolar chaired the Zoning and Land Regulation (ZLR) Committee where she led the first comprehensive rewrite of Dane County’s zoning ordinance since 1938. 


“Serving all of Dane County as the county staff and the ZLR Committee worked with petitioners and town leadership was among the most rewarding activities of my time on the Dane County Board of Supervisors,” said Kolar. “I’m particularly proud of the completion of the long over-due comprehensive rewrite of Chapter 10 of the Dane County Zoning Ordinance.  Many said it couldn’t be done, but after nearly three years of efforts by staff, sub-committees, work groups, and the Dane Counties Town Association, we got it completed.”


Kolar also served on the Healthy Farms Healthy Lakes Task Force and was a member of the Lakes and Watershed Commission. Her leadership of the Healthy Farms Healthy Lakes Task Force led to multiple recommendations for Dane County to reduce lake phosphorus levels.


“As significant as the zoning ordinance rewrite is the work and recommendations of the Healthy Farms Healthy Lakes Task Force that I chaired,” she said. “Though there is much more work to be done, I have confidence the County Board and others will take action to further reduce the pollutants entering our lakes.”


In addition, Kolar served three terms as a director on the Wisconsin Counties Association Board of Directors.  She previously served as co-Chair of the City-County Liaison Committee and was Vice Chair of the Dane County Housing Authority, serving the maximum term of five years.  Kolar was also a member of the Cultural Affairs Commission.


A retired Navy Captain, Kolar was appointed by Evers to serve as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. 


“With my foundation of military service and my local government experience, I expect to serve the 360,000-plus Wisconsin veterans and their families well,” she said.


Kolar is the third County Board Supervisor to leave for a position in state government, joining Jenni Dye (District 33, Fitchburg), who is now serving as Policy Director for Evers and Supervisor Jeff Pertl (District 17, Madison) who has been appointed Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.


Dye and Pertl will also both offer outgoing remarks Thursday to the Board, which will then vote to elect new first and second vice-chairs to leadership positions.


Meanwhile, 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 during 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 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,” he 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 PIE Grant Subcommittee. “This is 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 AEC self-supporting while enhancing its current role as a world-class destination. The long-term goal is to make the AEC 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 remodeling the Coliseum, 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.”


The Alliant Energy Center Redevelopment Committee will include the director of the Alliant Energy Center;  two members appointed by the Dane County Executive; two members of the County Board, appointed by the County Board Chair; the Madison Common Council alder who represents the area; a designee of the mayor of Madison; a resident of the neighborhood, appointed by the County Board Chair; the CEO of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau; a member appointed by the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau; a member appointed by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce; a member appointed by the Madison Area Sports Commission; and a member of the Public Works and Transportation Committee who is appointed by the committee chair.


Finally, the Board will consider accepting a $25,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation of Minneapolis to help cover the cost of modeling for a Climate Action Plan for Dane County. Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change (OECC) convened a Council on Climate Change consisting of 37 organizations that represent a diverse mix of stakeholder perspectives and county leaders to help the county develop the plan to address the impacts of climate change.

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