Business park TID expansion goes to council

Photo by Jim Ferolie/Special thanks to Oliver Himsel. Business Park North had filled two years ago with the addition of Nelson Global, but a plan to create a new tax-increment financing district could provide room to grow into the Moe property to the north (bottom of the photo).

The City of Stoughton is moving forward with a plan to create a new tax-increment financing district as part of an expanded Business Park North.

Commission members Monday voted to forward the plan to the Common Council despite one concern from a business owner in the current business park. The city wants to move the plan forward in order to create the district this year in case glass manufacturer Guardian Interior Glass decides to build this year.

The new TIF district (or TID) – a financing tool used by municipalities to encourage development and improve infrastructure  – would not be used to pay for Guardian’s expenses to build here, city finance director Laurie Sullivan said, but would allow the city to use the increase tax revenue from Guardian to expand the park further on about 35 acres to the north.


Sheriff warns of phone scam

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning Tuesday about a phone scam circulating in the area where callers are using “scare tactics” and posing as law enforcement.

According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office, in the past few weeks, several people said they received a phone call or message in reference to a variety of legal issues. The scammer then directs them to immediately call the main number to the Sheriff’s Office for follow-up.  

The scammers claim they are calling to collect a debt or back taxes, and then threaten that an arrest warrant will be issued if the call is not returned in a timely manner. If the victim answers the phone, they are often asked for personal information about his or her family members.


Visitors check out ‘one-of-a-kind’ Wal-Mart

Photos by Mark Ignatowski. Wal-Mart’s most recent open house drew people curious about the development project proposed for the corner of Hwy. 51 and Hwy 138. Above, Jim Bricker of JSD Professional Services talks with visitors about the project.

Visitors had another chance last week to review the latest store design for Wal-Mart’s proposed superstore inside Kettle Park West.

The dozen or so attendees who stopped by to chat with Wal-Mart officials and the development team for Kettle Park West seemed mostly supportive of the project, though some still had questions and reservations.

The store – described as the only of its kind by architect Gabriel Massa – draws on cues from Stoughton’s downtown. The 153,000 square-foot store has facades that would face Hwys. 138 and 51. The facades have different materials, colors, heights and depths of features that differ from the typical “blue box” store sometimes associated with the company’s stores.

The store designs have not been finalized by the company, but mockups and a video tour of the proposed Wal-Mart site were available at last week’s public open house.


City holds discussion on economic analysis

The Common Council and Planning Commission will hold a joint meeting Thursday to discuss the long-awaited Kettle Park West economic impact analysis.

The analysis, required by city policy as part of the big-box ordinance, was not discussed publicly before the city approved a developer’s agreement with Forward Development Group at KPW. That agreement contained a provision requiring the construction of a building of not less than 150,000 square feet, as well as $5.1 million worth of traffic and site improvements paid for by a yet-to-be created tax-increment financing (TIF) district.

FDG announced in January that the anchor retailer in that development would be a Wal-mart Supercenter.

The city did not vote to order the economic impact analysis until April 8, and it was initially due in June. The $16,525 report was expected to take about three months.


Ex-teacher arrested for nude photos

A former Stoughton Area School District teacher and sports coach was charged Wednesday with two felony counts of sending sexually explicit photos and videos to two underage Stoughton High School students.

Brandon M. Amato, 24, was charged in Dane County Circuit Court with two felony counts of exposing his genitals/pubic area/intimate parts to a child, according to online records. Alleged offense dates are listed as June 29 and Aug. 2 of this year, after he had left the district.

Amato worked as a one-year temporary teacher and coach for the Stoughton Area School District from Aug. 28, 2013 to June 10, 2014, teaching high school social studies and serving as a freshman football coach, eighth-grade boys basketball coach and assistant boys’ tennis coach.


Short-term fill for vacant council seat

The Common Council is seeking candidates to fill a vacancy in District 1 that was created when David Kneebone died last month.

The council on Aug. 26 unanimously approved Ald. Tricia’s Suess’ motion to appoint someone to fill the seat until the April 2015 election. Alders decided to try to make an appointment at the last meeting in September – Tuesday, Sept. 23 – and to follow the same guidelines used in the recent past to recruit candidates for an open seat.

Candidates will be asked to fill out an application and answer a series of questions. They will then appear at the second council meeting in September to answer those questions, along with any others an alder might ask, in person.

If there is more than one applicant, council members will write their choice for the seat on a paper ballot, and finance director and acting clerk Laurie Sullivan will read the results and swear in the new alder at the same meeting.


Public hearing planned for Business Park North TID

A plan to create a new tax-increment financing district for the Business Park North could help pay for expansion of the business area.

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the plan to create the new district at a hearing Monday, Sept. 8, at Stoughton’s Public Safety Building.

The new TIF district – a financing tool used by municipalities to encourage development and improve infrastructure  – was proposed in response to glass manufacturing firm Guardian Interior Glass expressing interest in expanding in Stoughton and building this year. The TIF district (or TID) would not be used to pay for Guardian’s expenses to build here, city finance director Laurie Sullivan said, but would allow the city to use the increased tax revenue from Guardian to expand the park further to the north.


Council approves street closures near hospital

Map provided by City of Stoughton. The council approved a plan at its Aug. 26 meeting to vacate parts of Church and Ridge streets.

The Common Council at its Tuesday, Aug. 26, meeting unanimously approved a plan to vacate a section of two streets near Stoughton Hospital.

The plan calls for discontinuing 263 feet of Church Street, from Giles Street to Ridge Street, and 131 feet of Ridge Street west of the hospital.

The council considered the proposed changes at its Aug. 12 meeting and, after hearing complaints from neighborhood residents, voted to send it back to committees for more review.

Hospital president and CEO Terry Brenny had told the council on Aug. 12 that vacating the two street sections would create a safer campus for patients and staff by eliminating traffic driving past the hospital.

Some residents argued then that automobiles would be rerouted to North Lynn Street and Hillside Avenue if the sections of Church and Ridge streets were closed. They said that would make the neighborhood less safe.


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.”