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County Executive Kathleen Falk Announces Recipients of BUILD Grants for Community Revitalization

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
Steve Steinhoff (608) 266-4270

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/18/2004

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Revitalization Plan Funded for Portion of Downtown Stoughton

The area immediately to the southeast of downtown Stoughton could see major improvements, as a result of a $16,000 planning grant announced today by Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

Falk made the announcement outside City Hall in Stoughton, along with Mayor Helen Johnson and others.

The Stoughton downtown revitalization planning grant was one of nine Dane County Better Urban Infield Development (BUILD) grants announced today by Falk. The others are in the villages of Cross Plains, Oregon, Black Earth and Cambridge, the city of Verona, and the Town of Blooming Grove.

“We created this grant program with the hope that it would help our wonderful cities, villages and towns create the vibrant downtown atmospheres that make their communities so special,” said Falk.

“This BUILD grant will allow Stoughton residents and businesses to prepare a vision for the revitalization of this part of downtown,” said Falk. “I’m very excited to be a part of building on the great success Stoughton has achieved with Main Street revitalization.”

Mayor Johnson said,”I am very pleased that Stoughton has been approved for this grant. We have done a lot of work on Main Street, but stopped at City Hall. Now we can look farther south to expand the revitalization. Thanks to everyone who made this grant possible."

Stoughton has made tremendous progress in revitalizing its Main Street. A BUILD grant of $20,000 in 2000 funded a streetscape plan that was completed in 2003 with decorative lighting, curb bulbouts and stamped concrete in the crosswalks to increas0e pedestrian crossing safety, and street furniture. The Stoughton Opera House was recently completed, lovingly restoring the historic performance space. Dane County CDBG grants in three years totaling $100,000 funded about two dozen façade improvements, making a noticeable improvement in the overall appearance of Main Street.

Dane County CDBG also provided a significant grant to the Stoughton Senior Center in downtown. All of these improvements have helped to spur the arrival of a number of new downtown businesses.

The areas immediately to the south and east of downtown, however, have empty industrial buildings and other buildings in need of repair. This grant will fund a redevelopment plan for this area. The plan is part of an effort to spread the downtown revitalization from the Main Street to the southeast area, seeing it as a potential for new downtown living and working spaces.

Other BUILD grants announced today include:

Village of Cross Plains, $36,000. Main Street, or Highway 14, serves as a major transportation route through the Village. The Village plans may include developing a more identifiable central focus for the Village center, better buffering for sidewalks along Main Street, making Black Earth Creek a more visible asset for the community and finding productive uses for the recently closed buildings of Zander’s Creamery. With its first grant to the Village, BUILD will fund a comprehensive planning process to identify redevelopment opportunities, prepare street plans in anticipation of Highway 14 (Main Street) reconstruction in the near future, link the Creek as an asset to downtown, upgrade building facades, plan for a downtown focal point, and create better connections to the south portion of the Village.

Town of Blooming Grove, $9,600: Preparation of a plan for the improvement and revitalization of the Gallagher Plat in the Town, north of Fair Oaks Avenue and west of Highway 30. The neighborhood is an island on the east side of Madison. The purpose of the plan is to upgrade aging infrastructure and neglected housing, and increase pedestrian friendliness. This is the first BUILD grant to the Town of Blooming Grove.

Village of Cambridge, $7,500: The downtown improvement plan, funded by BUILD in 2002 ($12,000), recommended improvements to the rear access of Main Street businesses to increase customer access, improve appearance, make ADA accessible improvements, and enable the redevelopment of second floor residential. A BUILD grant in 2003 ($20,000) funded conceptual drawings for the S. Alley improvements (as well as plans for a “wayfinding” signage plan and a Business Improvement District – or BID – plan). This grant will fund half of the cost of construction drawings that can be used to bid out the project.

Village of Cambridge, $10,000: Dane County Parks is creating a bicycle trail through Cam-Rock Park from the village center of Rockdale to downtown Cambridge. The downtown plan ($12,000) included recommendations to link the downtown to Cam-Rock Park and the Koshkonong River. Currently, the trail enters an undefined area on the edge of Cambridge’s downtown, with no facilities or directions. The grant will fund design plans for a rest stop facility and signage at the trail head to accommodate and encourage bicyclists to use the trail and to shop downtown.

Village of Oregon, $10,000: In 2001 the Village was awarded a BUILD grant of $12,300 for a downtown master plan. The Village has been implementing the plan through development of a TID (BUILD grant of $7,500 in 2003 funded TIF Study), which is pending approval, development of downtown design standards, establishment of a downtown historic district, application of façade improvement grants (funded with $25,000 CDBG grant in 2003), an infill development mixed-use project, and other improvements like downtown banners. This grant funds a design plan for improvements to the former Hitching Park, now a parking lot, so it can serve as an attractive public space and accommodate a planned bicycle path through the downtown.

Village of Oregon, $10,000: In 2001 the Village was awarded a BUILD grant of $12,300 for a downtown master plan. In 2003 they received a grant of $7,500 for a TIF study. This grant will generate design plans for attractive, accessible rear access to Main Street businesses. This will be especially important for the upcoming reconstruction of Main Street, but will also improve downtown businesses once the construction is complete.

City of Verona, $20,000: Downtown Verona has seen improvements in recent years with the Shops on Main project (planning funded with BUILD grant of $17,500 in 2001), a mixed-use development on the former site of Brunsell Lumber (CDBG-CRLF loan of $125,000 for this project pending). New Walgreens and expansion of Miller’s grocery has also added to downtown. Despite these improvements, downtown Verona is still fairly unfriendly to pedestrians, the streetscape is degraded, and parking is poorly organized and unattractive. This BUILD grant will provide funding to develop designs, plans and implementation strategies to improve pedestrian space and parking. [Note: CDBG also provided a grant to the Verona Senior Center a short walk down the Military Ridge Bike Path from downtown].

Village of Black Earth, $19,500: The Village of Black Earth received a BUILD grant of $19,500 to be used for general neighborhood planning exercises and workshops that identify the qualities, principles, and elements for neighborhoods in the Village. The grant was amended from the request to plan a development north of Highway 14 and east of the Village, which the BUILD Advisory Committee found did not meet BUILD objectives.

Objectives of the BUILD program include:

· Make better use of existing infrastructure.
· Locate community services, jobs and shopping in close proximity.
· Stabilize and enhance existing neighborhoods, downtowns and business districts.
· Produce housing and jobs for low to moderate-income people.
· Avoid converting productive farmland on urban fringes and in rural areas.
· Provide viable options to auto trips by supporting walking, biking, and transit.
· Have the potential to clean up environmentally contaminated sites.

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