Wal-Mart to hold second open house

Wal-Mart Inc. will host its second informational open house on Wednesday, Sept. 3, to display plans and discuss its proposal for a new Supercenter in the Kettle Park West Development.

As with the last open house, there will be no formal presentation, but Wal-Mart representatives will be available during the event to discuss plans and respond to comments.

People will have an opportunity to view renderings of the proposed building and the site plan, talk with the experts and express ideas or concerns.

Wal-Mart has proposed building an approximately 152,000-square-foot store to replace an existing 41,000-square-foot Wal-Mart on U.S. Hwy. 51 in the city. That store was built in 1988.

The proposed Kettle Park West development is supported by Mayor Donna Olson and a majority on the Common Council, while the community appears divided over the idea.


Stoughton InBusiness: Regional magazine highlights community

Photo submitted. A 12-page promotional feature will highlight Stoughton in the September InBusiness magazine.

Community leaders took another collaborative step in promoting the Stoughton area this year by having Stoughton featured in InBusiness magazine.

A 12-page supplemental section in the magazine will highlight the city, including its schools, quality of life and business community. The section will be printed in the September issue of the magazine.

The InBusiness feature builds off of an effort to bring more attention to all that Stoughton has to offer, McFarland State Bank president Steve Swanson said in an email to the Hub.

“There is no other suburban community in the Madison area that has everything that Stoughton has,” Swanson wrote. “The community needs growth to remain vital in the area and for some reason had fallen off the radar for families and business considering relocation. This article, along with several other initiatives, are meant to help change that.”


New plan aims to curb traffic by hospital

Map courtesy City of Stoughton. A map shows where some “No Truck” signs and stop signs could be installed to reduce traffic issues surrounding Stoughton Hospital. The proposed four-way stop at Lynn and Giles streets will likely only be a two-way stop on Giles due to the hill grade on Lynn Street.

City officials have tried to strike a compromise with neighbors of Stoughton Hospital by updating a parking lot plan to include traffic control for the surrounding area.

A new plan to close a street and expand parking near Stoughton Hospital got positive reviews from the city’s Public Safety committee and Planning Commission last Wednesday and was approved by the Common Council Tuesday.

The original plan had been presented July 14 but amid some neighbor complaints, the Common Council sent it back for more review a week later. The compromise that seemed to be OK with most neighbors at the joint meeting, and the committees unanimously recommended three parts of the plan to the full council.

The hospital is looking to close part of Ridge Street in front of its facility and add a total of 59 spaces to two parking lots. The plan is similar to what the hospital presented last month, but it has more traffic mitigation components for the adjacent neighborhood.


Council pursuing manufacturer

City officials are excited about the possibility of a large, new manufacturing facility being built on 35 acres in Business Park North.

The Common Council last Tuesday discussed the prospect of Guardian IG building a 204,000-square-foot plant that would initially employ 80 to 100 people. It later unanimously authorized Mayor Donna Olson and her staff to prepare a developers agreement and a tax-increment finance project plan for the expansion of Business Park North.

City finance director Laurie Sullivan said Guardian would like to have two shifts running by the end of 2015.

The company is in the process of deciding whether to build its new facility in Stoughton or Arlington, a small community about 25 miles north of Madison.

Guardian is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., and manufactures fabricated glass products, fiberglass insulation and other building materials for commercial, residential and automotive markets.


Ringhand advances to general election

Only about 15 percent of registered voters in Dane County showed up for last Tuesday’s partisan primary, but those who did helped put Democrat Janis Ringhand on the November ballot.

Ringhand will vie for the 15th District state senate seat against Republican Brian Fitzgerald of Janesville.

Ringhand earned 63.5 percent of the vote in Dane County, compared to 20.4 percent for challenger Austin Scieszinski and 16 percent for Mike Sheridan. Throughout the entire district, Ringhand earned 40 percent of the vote, compared to 38 for Scieszinski and 22 for Sheridan.

In a race for state assembly seat 43, Leon L. Hebert narrowly won a Republican primary race with 52 percent of the vote over Herschel Brodkey. Herbert will face incumbent Democrat Andy Jorgensen of Milton.

City of Stoughton voters played no role in the senate or assembly races, with no voters casting a ballot for any candidate in the partisan primary.


Wal-Mart updates commission

City of Stoughton Planning Commission members got an update on Kettle Park West Monday but took no action on anything related to the west side development.

Officials from Wal-Mart shared a presentation with the commission and answered a few questions about the proposed store design and layout after giving a similar presentation at an open house just a half hour before the commission meeting. The exchange focused mostly on general concepts for the store, rather than specific details that will be hashed out during the next phase of approvals.

The commission has already approved a general development plan for the commercial area along Hwys. 138 and 51. The next phase will focus on specific details for each lot, including the proposed 153,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter.


Strong open house turnout

Photos by Bill Livick. Ingrid West discusses the landscaping design for a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter with consultant Ryan Solum, a civil engineer with Manhart Consulting.

Local interest in a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter is strong, if the turnout for an informational open house Monday is any indication.

A steady stream of residents walked through the training room at the Stoughton EMS building on Fourth Street and talked with nearly a dozen Wal-Mart representatives and consultants about the project. The company had a few videos playing on TV screens, along with numerous displays resting on tripods, all depicting, explaining or promoting some aspect of the proposed 152,000-square-foot Supercenter.

The new store would be built in the proposed Kettle Park West development at the northwest corner at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 51 and State Hwy. 138. It would replace a 41,000-square-foot store on Hwy. 51 that was built in 1988.

Mayor Donna Olson and a majority of the Common Council support the project, while five alders have consistently opposed it. Olson and a handful of alders attended Monday’s open house.


Police join statewide effort to curb drunk driving

The Stoughton Police Department will join hundreds of other departments around Wisconsin in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

The effort to curb drunk driving runs from Aug. 15 to Sept. 1.

SPD Sgt. Patrick Frisch said the campaign will include two extra officers on duty from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. the nights of Aug. 15, 16, 29 and 30.

Frisch also said the department would use “high-visibility” tactics, including LED signs, as people drive into the city on those nights as a deterrent to people driving after they’ve consumed alcohol.

“We try to refocus the whole police department on OWI enforcement during that time,” Frisch said.

Statewide, the campaign will also include television and radio commercials and updated features to the “Zero in Wisconsin Drive Sober” mobile app, according to a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.


Redistricting meeting Aug. 14

The Dane County Board of Supervisors will hear from two election experts at a hearing during the Executive Committee this Thursday, Aug. 14, at 5 p.m., and citizens are encouraged to attend and weigh in.

Following the testimony of the two experts, County Supervisors will have the opportunity to ask questions, and a public testimony period will allow citizens to voice their opinions on the topic.

“People need to have confidence that their vote counts just as much as the vote cast by someone across the street or across the county,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan in a news release.

“The way we draw our voting maps has to be open, fair and transparent, and we need to think carefully about the process by which we do that. We need to hear what these experts have to say, ask them tough questions, and then heed their advice.”


Kneebone ‘advocated for the citizens’

District 1 Ald. David Kneebone died unexpectedly last Thursday, Aug. 7, after a brief illness. Kneebone, 66, had served on the Common Council since being elected in April 2012 and was a progressive populist with a quick wit.

He lived in Stoughton for the past 21 years.

Council president Michael Engelberger said Kneebone “did a good job for the council and the citizens.”

“He was good for the city,” Engelberger said.

Born in 1948, Kneebone was raised on an 80-acre farm in western Dane County near Paoli. He married Georgene Fink in May 1970. The couple had two adult children: Aaron Kneebone of Edgerton and Jesse (Tracy) Kneebone of Baraboo.

Dave worked in both labor and management and had experience negotiating long-term contracts. He’d worked as a newspaper publisher and Sunday school teacher and had been on the executive board of a couple of unions, he told the Courier Hub in 2012.