Dane County and communities in northwestern Dane County will work together under the terms of what Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today called a ‘big picture’ Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) regarding the potential path of a North Mendota E-way and Parkway.
Officials from the City of Middleton, Village of Waunakee, Town of Westport, Town of Springfield, City of Madison and Dane County today announced their agreement affecting the North Mendota area, north of the lake and including parts of those communities at a news conference in Middleton. This agreement must be approved by all of the legislative bodies of these local governments.
“This is a big picture deal. It takes hard work and vision to support the steps we need to take to protect natural resources and farms, and to improve transportation in one of the county’s fastest growing regions,” Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said today. “This agreement among these officials with me today represents cooperation and an understanding that no community stands alone, and that our resources must be protected.”
Middleton Mayor Douglas Zwank labeled the agreement as a “necessary step” and example of what can be achieved when various governments work together.
"Obviously the City of Middleton is very pleased with this agreement. For years Middleton has felt the impact of commuter traffic on Century and Allen boulevards,” Zwank said. “This is the first step, and a necessary step, to get the process started for a North Mendota Parkway which will provide critical relief. I would like to thank all of our partners in developing this agreement, which includes Dane County, the Towns of Westport and Springfield, and the Village of Waunakee.
“This is yet another example of the great projects that can be achieved through the mutual cooperation of local and County government for the benefit of all Dane County residents," Zwank said.
Town of Westport Chairman John Van Dinter called the agreement the result of a lot of effort by everyone. “I’m extremely pleased after all the work that went into this process that we were able to realize a tentative agreement,” Van Dinter said, adding the pact is “the first step in a long process to get transportation to the north side of Lake Mendota.”
Waunakee Village Administrator R. Kim Wilde also said the agreement is key to crafting improvements for the region. “Waunakee is very pleased that a compromise has been reached,” Wilde said. “We appreciate the County Executive’s efforts to bring the agreement to fruition and hope the end result will be a big improvement to the transportation problems that we face in the north end of Dane County.”
Projects to construct or to improve transportation in the North Mendota region and the impact such projects would have on the region’s natural resources has been a discussion point for years.
As the population has grown, demands on current transportation routes and strains on the resources also have increased. At the same time, citizens have strongly expressed the need to preserve farmland and environmental resources, especially the streams, wetlands, and springs important to the health of Lake Mendota.
Among the steps authorized by the IGA are:
-- Cooperative Planning to identify the natural resources that should be protected in a North Mendota E-Way and the best corridor for the new Parkway;
-- A 2-year moratorium on development so the planning can occur before irreversible development decisions are made.
The county will fund 75 percent of environmental studies focusing on the wetlands, water resources, springs and farmlands of the North Mendota area. The communities involved in the agreement will cover the remaining 25 percent.
While all parties have not formally approved the agreement, and the agreement is at different stages of the approval process in these different communities, it is anticipated by the end of summer all will sign the intergovernmental pact.
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