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Verona Progress 2016

A supplement to the Verona Press


September 29, 2016

Verona Progress

Message from the Mayor

Continuing to grow while keeping a small-town feel Thank you for allowing me to serve as mayor of Verona for the last 10 years. During that time, the city has grown and improved, including new developments in 2016. While the city continues to grow, we have remained Hometown U.S.A. with our responsible government, excellent services, friendly neighbors and ample recreational opportunities.

Residential development

Three buildings have been completed and three more are under construction at Liberty Business Park.

Housing growth in the city continues to remain strong due to low interest rates, strong schools, a safe community and amenities for families. Through August of 2016, 47 new single-family home permits were issued. In 2015, the City issued 75 permits for new single-family homes, and the city is on pace to issue approximately 60 to 70 permits in 2016. Limited single-family Hochkammer housing options are available in the city, but additional options will be available in the near future. The city recently approved the Kettle Creek North subdivision, which contains 174-single-family lots. Kettle Creek North will be located north the Country View Elementary School and may have lots available in late 2016. The city also approved the Hometown

Turn to Mayor/Page 15

Photo by Jim Ferolie

Making accommodations Liberty Park brings in new, growing businesses JIM FEROLIE Verona Press editor

Three finished buildings. Three more in various stages of construction. And a whole lot of plans for the rest. It’s taken many years for the city and the developer of Liberty Business Park to come to agreements, but the construction going on in that southeast-side development is hard for anyone to miss now. And while landowner David Reinke and developer Dean Slaby are not always on the same page with the city – they’re at odds over a plan to bring apartments to a corner and to extend the main road through it, for example – the development is leading the way in Verona’s commercial growth outside of Epic. Combined with more occasional

movement in the Verona Technology Park across County Hwy. M (a new animal vaccine plant setting up shop, an electric supply company opening this year and a dog daycare possibly on the way), the area around Thousand Oaks Trail/Liberty Drive is a bustling beehive of activity. The commercial construction on the southeast side of the city – mostly in Liberty Business Park – has been one of the biggest stories of the year so far, and certainly of the past two years. Thirteen new businesses have settled in at Liberty Park since the first “flex” building opened, in March 2015. Since then, another flex building – basically office park space with cookie-cutter facades and flexible interior areas – has been completed

On the cover Work continues on the 130-room Hyatt Place hotel at Liberty Business Park. The hotel is expected to open in 2017. Photo by Samantha Christian

Turn to Liberty/Page 15

Liberty Business Park Retail # 1 - Now Open with 30,000 sq. ft. Office/Retail space available. Current Tenants include: Sugar River Pizza, Anaala Salon, NextHome Metro Group, Providence Lending & Thrivent Financial

Retail #2 - Now Complete and open with 20,000 sq. ft. Office space only available. Current Tenants are Robert C. Roth, CPA and King Financial. And a new restaurant will be opening soon!

Retail #4 - Currently under construction with 7000 sq. ft. Scheduled to open January 1st, 2017 This will be the new home of Fisher King Winery.

Retail #5 - Construction will start in spring of 2017 with 10,000 sq ft. Office/Retail space available.

The Hyatt Place Hotel Construction will be completed in Jan 2017.

Slaby & Associates is leasing/brokering the entire Liberty Park Development. Questions regarding leasing, please contact Dean Slaby at (608) 333-4130. Questions regarding construction, please call KSW at (608) 845-2290.


September 29, 2016

Verona Progress


Message from the Chamber

Doing our part to help our community’s growth

Photo by Scott Girard

Taco Bell, which opened just before last year’s Progress section, is one of the many restaurants off East Verona Avenue. This year, Pizza Ranch, not pictured, and Arby’s, which just opened in September, joined the area, and Gus’ Diner will be next.

Eatery eruption

5 restaurants open in past year, more to come this year and next SCOTT GIRARD

Veronans are always talking about having more places to eat, and over the past year, they’ve gotten a full plate, with promises of The East Verona Avenue corridor “has a smorgasbord to come. The biggest boom has been for new the meats.” It also has the pizza, which goes for Lib- kitchens off of East Verona Avenue, with Arby’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Ranch joining erty Park, too. Don’t forget an update to a classic struc- an area that within the last five years has also added Dairy Queen, Little Caesar’s ture on West Verona Avenue, either. Unified Newspaper Group

and Mr. Brews. There’s also Sugar River Pizza at Liberty Park and Treads in the old gas station and Michael’s Frozen Custard location. The best news for those looking for more food options: there’s more to come. First will be Jimmy John’s, which is

Turn to Food/Page 13

Verona is exploding, a fact that is recognized by surrounding communities, residents, business owners and visitors. Significant to this is the rejuvenation of the role the Verona Area Chamber of Commerce plays in the support and promotion of our local businesses and the community they serve. We will continue to do our very best to enhance the value of the programs we offer and the services we provide to our businesses and the community. As this is being written, the Chamber is working with marketing professionals to develop and implement an entirely new Jordan promotional campaign to attract visitors and tourists to Verona and capture the attention and interest of the thousands of people who work at or attend events held by the ever-expanding Epic campus. We are taking a fresh look at everything about the way we promote Verona. An emphasis in any final marketing plan will be on reaching people who are not aware of all Verona has to offer. With that increased awareness will come an increase in the number of new businesses, the expansion of current enterprises and an overall sense of prospering as a community. There is already much we can point to in the way of business health and progress in recent months. One significant and rapidly expanding business complex in our community is

Turn to Chamber/Page 13

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September 29, 2016

Verona Progress

Photos by Jim Ferolie

The “Wizards Campus”, which resembles buildings from the Harry Potter franchise, is nearing completion. Some employees have already moved into the buildings, though they were not ready to be toured during the annual Users’ Group Meeting earlier this month.

Epic still under construction TIF closeout boosts local budgets

Storybook, Wizards’ Academy campuses near completion Scott Girard Unified Newspaper Group

Work is also ongoing on the Storybook Campus, which will feature buildings themed from famous authors’ works. refugees, who make up about one in five of Lebanon’s population at this point. The company is working to get thumb drives to the refugees to store their health information on so they can have it handy wherever they settle in the future. “Right now, it’s very scattered information,” Faulkner said. “It’s a real challenge to take care of the refugees.” Its customer base also continued its growth, with 43 new healthcare groups announced at UGM as new customers. The group now includes 13 foreign countries.

What’s ahead The Common Council also gave approval earlier in the year for Epic to add parking

Grand Opening!

Unified Newspaper Group editor Jim Ferolie contributed to this story.

– Scott Girard

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facilities and two contractor buildings, it was a sign that future growth – at least for offices – might be slowing down. The 1,546-stall expansion of its planned Campus 5 garage will help replace existing temporary parking and accommodate growth beyond 10,000 employees. Facilities manager Bruce Richards and Findorff project management director Deana Turner told the Press earlier this year that there had been no planning or design work for a Campus 6 in the months preceding June, and there were no plans at the time to build one.

A tax-increment financing district helped bring Epic to Verona, and the city – and other governmental entities – will soon reap the rewards. The Common Council decided in May to close out the TIF district, which will split $21 million in one-time funds among various taxing jurisdictions. The Verona Area School District is the biggest winner, with $11.2 million likely to come next year. Part of that has been earmarked to help cover costs of leasing iPads for every student in the district. The city will get $6 million, as well, with the rest split between Dane County and Madison College. The closure will also add $1.2 million annually to the city’s tax revenues. A TIF district diverts increased property taxes within a specific area from all taxing jurisdictions, with the funds typically used to increase the tax and employment base in cases in which the development would not have happened “but for” the city’s investment. Though the district would have been required to close in 23 years, it was able to close nine years early because Epic surpassed its number quickly, reaching a value of well over $100 million the year after its first buildings opened and doubling that the following year.



Not much has changed at Epic since last year’s Verona Progress. But that doesn’t mean nothing has been happening on the ever-growing campus of the software giant based on the west side of Verona. The newest campuses, with Storybook and Wizards themes, are still under construction. While some of the company’s nearly 10,000 employees have moved in, the buildings are still being worked on in the meantime and were not ready to be shown off to customers at the annual Users’ Group Meeting, held Sept. 19-22. At the same time, the new cafeteria, modeled after the London’s King’s Cross train station, has been open for employees as well. UGM once again saw a decline in attendance from customers, to about 8,000 after 9,000 last year and 10,300 the year before, as the company began its Experts Group Meeting (XGM) in the spring. It’s also been a relatively big year in the news for a company that mostly keeps to itself, with headlines touting its role in discovering the water problems in Flint, Mich., the planned closing of its tax-increment financing district and the resultant financial boost to local governments, and winning a nearly $1 billion lawsuit over a foreign competitor. Those headlines could continue in the near future as well, as CEO Judy Faulkner shared at UGM that Epic is collaborating with the American University of Beirut to help Syrian

September 29, 2016


Verona Progress

Message from the Superintendent

District working to help every student succeed

Photo by Jim Ferolie

The Verona Area School District purchased land at the West End and neighboring Erbach property after a successful spring 2015 referendum. Board members and administrators are working with consultants to propose another referendum in April 2017 that would likely include a new high school building on the site, above.

2016 full of referendum planning been working toward will not come until at least next spring. VASD officials and school board members have spent much of their time since last year’s Progress putting SCOTT GIRARD together plans for an April 2017 refUnified Newspaper Group erendum for at least one new school It was a big year in the Verona Area building. In that time, they’ve worked with School District – though what it’s all consultants, sought community

feedback through a series of workshops and nearly completed a survey to go out to residents in October as a final test of support. That survey – being developed by School Perceptions – will help board members determine what exactly should go on the ballot.

Turn to Referendum/Page 9

Apple to provide each student in our district with an iPad. This is indeed an exciting opportunity for our students. We know that our staff will utilize this technology to greatly enhance the learning and achievement of our students. Gorrell Another important a n d ex c i t i n g d eve l o p ment in our district is the expected referendum in April 2017 to construct and/or renovate school building(s). Our school district has seen significant growth over the last 10 years, and projections for the next 15 years predict a student enrollment growth of nearly 1,700 additional students above our current enrollment. This growth will push nearly all of our existing schools beyond their capacity. If you recall, the district

Turn to Gorrell/Page 9

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It’s that time of year as nearly 5,500 students have filled our classrooms in 11 schools. We are eager to unveil two new endeavors this year not only to enhance our students’ learning experiences and achievement, but to also a d d r e s s t h e ex t e n s ive growth that this community, and school district, is undergoing. Our district’s mission is that “Every Student Must Be Successful.” The Board of Education has established goals and policy to direct our efforts and resources to achieve this mission. In 2013, the board set an ambitious goal that by 2018-2019, every student would have a personalized learning plan tailored to the students’ learning style, interests and aptitude. And while personalized learning is not about the technology, it cannot happen without it. This past June, the Board approved the expenditure of $2.5 million dollars to enter into a fouryear lease agreement with



September 29, 2016

Verona Progress

New town hall under construction Busy year includes comprehensive plan work, boundary deal Scott Girard Unified Newspaper Group

The new town hall will soon provide a physical marker for the busy last year in the Town of Verona. The years-long process of constructing a new town hall is expected to be complete in January, when officials will likely move into the new building, town administrator/ planner Amanda Arnold said. Construction is expected to finish in December. The town hall was far from all the big news over the past year, though, as town officials played a role in a statewide debate on zoning, began work toward drafting a new comprehensive plan and completed a boundary agreement with the City of Verona. A groundbreaking in May, though, celebrated the achievement of beginning construction on the new town hall on a $3 million price tag that includes a maintenance building and salt shed at the 7685 County Hwy. PD property. The board had purchased 43 acres at that location in December 2014, but spent much of 2015 presenting proposals to residents and gathering feedback. Eventually, at the April annual meeting earlier this year, residents voted overwhelmingly in support of constructing the new building.

Photo by Scott Girard

Construction on the new town hall and maintenance building is expected to be completed in December, with town officials and staff moving in sometime in January, town planner/administrator Amanda Arnold said. Work began in May after town residents overwhelmingly approved the project at the town’s annual meeting in April. Below is a rendering of the project. Construction was also paired with the sale of 37 of the original 43 acres sold to Epic for $2.4 million, which helped cover the cost of the new buildings. That price – about $65,000 per acre – was far above what the town originally paid the State Bank of Cross Plains for the land, at about $16,000 per acre. The other three major efforts in the town are all related, with zoning and land use providing major fodder for discussion about the future of the town. The state legislature earlier this year passed a law allowing towns in Dane County to opt out of the county zoning laws and create their own, which would allow for them

to have more control over their land use. Town officials, including Town Chair Mark Geller, spoke at a public hearing on the bill at the state Capitol. Though Geller and Arnold have said they aren’t sure if the town will opt out of the zoning, they supported having the option to do so. That decision will likely come soon, and if they do opt out, it would take effect at the beginning of 2018. Soon after that bill passed, the Town Board and the City of Verona Common Council each approved a boundary deal that outlines land use around the borders that divide the city

Turn to Town/Page 12

Rendering courtesy Cuningham Group

Message from the Town Chair

‘New era’ becoming a reality in Town of Verona welcoming residents to use the community space and creating a new town destination. For years we’ve talked about updating the Town’s comprehensive plan and reaching a boundary agreement with the City of Verona in order to plan for the Town’s future. That boundary agreement was approved unanimously by the City and Town in June, and public meetings to get input into the comprehensive plan are ongoing with a completion date targeted for April 2017. Surveys will eventually go out to every property owner in the Town. In addition, the Town now has the

ability to “opt out” of Dane County zoning, and since maintaining a strong tax base remains a concern, that will be an option we explore with citizen input in early 2017. The first major housing development in more than 15 years is currently under construction, and the town needs to find a way to continue to grow while still protecting our rural character and natural resources. Because so much work lies in front of the Town, we’ve expanded our operational structure by adding citizen committees that advise the Town Board on public

works projects, financial issues, ordinance improvements, and opportunities to preserve and expand natural and recreational areas. More and more people are becoming involved and we’re getting more done. We’re excited about inviting people to the new Town Hall, we continue to plan for our future, and we appreciate all of the people who participate. We are definitely moving forward. Mark Geller, Chair of the Town of Verona Board of Supervisors

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Last year the Town of Verona reported that we were “on the edge of a new era.” This year that era is becoming a reality. The new town hall facilities, a Town Hall with community space, a public works building, and a salt shed, are all under construction on County Hwy. PD. The Town expects to Geller move its operations to these impressive facilities and sell the old Town Hall by January 2017. We look forward to

September 29, 2016

Verona Progress

The Scenic Ridge subdivision, on the right, is nearly full, leaving Cathedral Point as one of the few places left for building new homes. But new subdivisions are on the way.


Photos by Jim Ferolie

Everybody loves living in Verona SCOTT DE LARUELLE Unified Newspaper Group

Living somewhere people want to move to is great for the community – but not so much if you’re one of those looking to build or buy a house there. So it is for Verona, where demand for housing “continues to outstrip the supply,” creating higher prices for new construction, city planner Adam Sayre told the Press. That’s based on his conversations with developers and Realtors. Housing demand has been strong since the beginning of 2015 and has remained steady ever since, he said. And while some new subdivisions planned in the next few years will alleviate the issue to some degree, Verona is a desirable place for people to live, and that “won’t change the demand the city is facing.” “Demand is strong, because of the schools, it’s a safe place to live, and especially for families looking to move here,” he said. “People want to live here and want to buy or build a house, but the reality is they’re pretty much just looking at Cathedral Point right now.” The city issued 47 new single-family home permits so far this year out of an anticipated 60 to 70. That’s down a bit from recent years – 75 permits were issued last year, 84 the year before and 76 in 2013. Sayre said that’s due to Cathedral Point – an exclusive Veridian subdivision – being the only area with a “significant supply” of available lots. “The rest of the subdivisions are full or are almost full,” he said. Last year, the city approved Harper Drive Estates along Harper Drive, which created

City of Verona – single family/ duplex permits issued Average value

2015 $325,600

2016 $341,000

Average square feet

2015 2,985

2016 3,200

Unbuilt lots Subdivision Kettle Creek North Cathedral Point Hometown Grove Scenic Ridge Harper Drive Estates Westridge Total

Single-family home permits Year Number 2016 60-70* 2015 75 2014 84 2013 76 *anticipated six single-family lots. This year, two new subdivisions were approved: Hometown Grove and Kettle Creek North. Hometown Grove, south of Glacier Edge Elementary School, will contain 32 single-family lots and will likely see construction begin sometime next year, Sayre said. Kettle Creek, north of Country View Elementary, will contain 174 lots, with Phase 1 work potentially starting later this year or early next year.

What’s left? Sayre said the city’s next targeted large growth area is land south of University

2016 174 114 32 7 4 3 334 Ridge at the intersection of County Hwys. M and PD. This North Neighborhood is planned for several hundred single-family and multifamily units along with commercial The Kettle Creek North subdivision north of Country View Elementary School was approved development, with a likely this summer. starting date of 2018 or 2019. While the new developments should help reduce demand a bit, Sayre said he doesn’t expect it to have much of an effect on the bigger picture. “Obviously, there are eco50 Years Combined Experience in Real Estate & Banking! nomic considerations in the national economy that may play more into that,” he said. “If interest rates stay low, I don’t see much changing.” Aside from the North Neighborhood, Sayre said Scott (608) 512-8487 “a lot” of the land left in the city is more costly, not as easy to develop and would necessitate expanding urban services and working with Kathy (608) 235-2927 regional planning bodies, a process he said can be “ lenging.” “We’re always open to looking at things, but a lot of the land that can easily be gotten to has been developed,” Sayre said. SUCCESS

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September 29, 2016

Verona Progress


Streetscape begins, will finish next year Two years later than planned, it’s ‘getting done right’

Downtown upgrades Stage 1: Nov. 10 completion Hometown Junction memorial Park Lane parking lot North terrace of Park Lane

JIM FEROLIE Unified Newspaper Group

It’s going to cost more than expected, has gotten more extensive than planned and has taken much longer than anticipated, but the downtown streetscape improvement project has finally begun. Just about everything that could have gotten in the way already has, so barring a calamity, it should be done in 2017. The streetscape idea was cooked up in August 2014 as the city’s first tangible sign that it was not going to sleep on its downtown plan. While some of the elements in that plan, passed earlier that year, would have to be far more longterm, alders and city staff figured they could make the downtown at least look more inviting and walkable – and do it quickly. That included new streetlights, new concrete, new wiring to help with plowing, pedestrian bumpouts at key crossings, a rebuilt Hometown Junction veterans memorial and a special emphasis on the bike trail. Much of it is ultimately cosmetic, but ensuring long-term viability has meant much more costly and time-consuming infrastructure work, too. It’s gone through many adjustments since its initial design was presented in early 2015 and has grown to encompass the reconstruction of several streets and the digging up of many utility lines.

Stage 2: 2017 completion Rendering courtesy D’Onofrio Kottke and Associates

A view looking south of the original streetscape plan produced in 2015, with examples of pedestrian “bumpouts” and colored concrete. The city set aside $2 million for 2015 and spent only a small piece of it that year. By the time it’s done, though, it’s expected to be about $4 million. The biggest blow to the timeline was the discovery that parts of South Main Street will need to be rebuilt because it’s not as strong as newer roads. Over the summer, the Public Works committee agreed with retiring public works director Ron Rieder that it would be wasteful to put in $1 million worth of sidewalks along Main Street with the knowledge that the road would need to be torn up again within a few years. “We’re not going to put all the investment in behind the curb and then have to take it all out in a year,” explained Theran Jacobson, who took over for Rieder in July. “It’s getting done right, and that’s the main thing.” While the project is entirely

separate from the Church Street, South Marietta and Grove Street improvements that are finishing up and the bike and pedestrian plan improvements throughout the city, the net result over the next year or two should be striking – a far more walkable, bikable, inviting city throughout, but especially downtown. Jacobson said the combined effect of the many small pieces will make a significant difference in the look and feel of downtown. "And the safety, the pedestrian movements, the light spacing – they’re closer together – so it’s going to lighten up Main Street more,” he said. “It’s going to look like the traditional past downtowns. It’s going to be fresh, new, and you’ll also have the focal point of the veterans memorial down at the southern end of it.” Unless weather gets in the way, the veterans memorial will be

finished in time for the ceremony there during Veterans Day this fall, with a fountain and more places to sit. “Getting the veterans memorial to a unique (design) – nobody else has a fountain that I know of – that’s been one of the delays,” Jacobson said. This summer, the city paved its first public parking lot at the corner of Park Lane and Franklin Street and rebuilt parts of Church and Grove streets. This fall it began tearing up South Marietta Street and the Hometown Junction area. All of that will be done by October, Jacobson said. By fall 2017, the downtown will have rebuilt sidewalks all the way through Main Street, benches, new streetlights and terraces and a stoplight at Paoli Street. Main Street added $800,000 to the project’s cost, but Jacobson said “in the long run,” that will end

Main Street terrace work South Main Street rebuild Bike trail bumpouts Park Lane

Street upgrades, 2016 Church Street Grove Street Marietta Street up as a net cost savings. “We’re investing a significant amount of money in here, and by doing the proper investigations and the pavement structure, what people want out of the downtown … it’s a delay and it will be a longer disruption, but when we’re done, we’re out of there in a long time,” he said.

Referendum: Survey expected in October Continued from page 5 The options are a new high school at the West End property, and many of the amenities that could go with it, and an additional elementary school building on the Herfel property on the city’s south side. Board members have recently seemed especially interested in the community’s feedback on amenities at a new high school building, as no matter what exactly the referendum question covers, a new high school building is likely to be included. Potential amenities include a new auditorium, a field house, a pool and athletic playing fields. Each would add an expense to the price of the referendum initially, but if not covered could create transportation issues to deal with getting students to and from the game fields located at the current high school. It’s all going to come at a big price tag, though, with the cost for a 2,000-student high school with no athletic competition

fields estimated at more than $180 million. If you add on the playing fields, increase renovations to existing buildings to help repurpose them and even consider an elementary school at the same time, the price tag could rise well above $200 million. While that’s a big number, district officials have also stressed that now is the most opportune time to put that kind of cost on the tax rolls. If the district had no referendum, the tax rate would likely drop next year after Epic’s tax increment finance district closed earlier this year. Instead, district officials want to use that flexibility to add buildings that, based on enrollment projections, will be necessary at some point in the future anyway while keeping the tax rate increase from such large projects minimal. Whether or not the community supports all of this won’t be known until April of next year, but the district has done plenty over the past year to get a plan in front of them.

Good things




Gorrell: Every student in district received iPad early-to-mid October. This members of our school dissurvey will serve to inform trict to call / email me or w e n t t o r e f e r e n d u m i n the public of options the any district staff with quesA p r i l 2 0 1 5 t o b o r r ow board is considering and tions you may have regardmoney for the purchase of provide an opportunity for ing your child or about any three parcels of land for every resident to provide school district operation. future school sites, pass- feedback. The board will The Verona Area School ing with a 65 percent ‘yes’ then take that feedback District is absolutely comvote. Since that time, the along with the other data mitted to give each and Board and Administration collected through projec- every child that passes has been actively engaged tions and research to deter- through our schoolhouse in a thorough study of mine what question(s) will doors our very best: Every N November b 1, 2016 mark ks our third h d year in Hom meto own USA — the h perfect our existing facilities and be on an April 2017 ballot. s t u d e n t w i l l s u c c e e d . place to entertain out-o of-to owners and out-of-st tate ers. Our average p g visitor enrollment projections and We invite you to check Wo r k i n g t o g e t h e r w i t h has engaged the commu- us out on our website, families and the communispends $10 at our brewery, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize nity in workshops, gather-, on Face- ty, we can make this hapthey also spend an average $40 more per person with our Verona ing additional information b o o k o r Tw i t t e r. We pen. neighbors.* Last year, visitors spent $100,000 at our brewery, and another about options and choices have information about $400,000 on Verona hotels, meals and more. We’re proud to play a part in regarding future schools. our schools, our district Dean Gorrell is the making this community stronger. Here’s to another great year! To continue communi- achievement data and each superintendent of the ty involvement, a survey school’s annual report. Verona Area School will be mailed to all resi- Lastly, know that there is District. 608.848.1079 • 1079 american way Verona, WI 53593 dents in our community in a standing invitation to all *Based on 2015 data from the Convention Visitors Bureau


Continued from page 5


September 29, 2016

Verona Progress

Big changes inside City Hall JIM FEROLIE Unified Newspaper Group

Over the past year, Verona has lost a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge. It started with the 2015 retirement of city assessor Bob Courter and ended with the June 30 retirement of public works director Ron Rieder. Those are two employees that each had been in their jobs for more than 30 years. During that time, the city also lost city engineer Bob Gundlach after more than 30 years, city clerk Kami Scofield (five years) and to top it all of, city administrator Bill Burns left for a position in Middleton in April after six years. In August, the city finally filled the last of those positions with the introduction of administrator Jeff Mikorski, who had come from a similar position in a larger city in West Virginia. But two more long-serving employees are on the way out, with building inspector Brian Flannery (13 years) and assistant building inspector Todd Parkos (eight years) making their exits in July and September, respectively. That’s a lot of change in a short amount of time. Some of the bigger changes were planned, however, allowing for a smooth transition. When Courter

Key exits Bill Burns, administrator (six years) Bob Courter, assessor (34 years) Brian Flannery and Todd Parkos, inspectors Bob Gundlach, engineer (30 years) Ron Rieder, public works director (33 years) Kami Scofield, clerk (five years)

New faces Ellen Clark, clerk Theran Jacobson, public works director Jeff Mikorski, administrator Jeff Montpas and Carla Fischer, engineers Paul Musser, assessor

left, for example, he handed off his duties to Paul Musser, who already had been assisting with assessment for several years here. And Rieder gave about a year’s notice, allowing the city to put a reorganization of the public works department into the 2016 budget. His successor, Theran Jacobson, had worked on several city projects over the past few years, and he was able to spend a month shadowing Rieder in June before going solo. In a few cases, the new city department heads

will have some key longterm personnel to lean on. Jacobson, for example, has assistant directors Greg Denner (streets superintendent), Marty Cieslik and Jon Bublitz. And Mikorski has 20-year veteran finance director Cindy Engelke as he heads into budget season. It’s a bit tougher in the building inspection department, where Parkos and Flannery both left over the summer, though Parkos has been working on a contract basis during the transition.

Photo by Kate Newton

Construction began on the site of the Verona Area Community Theater’s new facility on Lincoln Street in early August, about a month after originally planned. The prefabricated steel building will be delivered by late October, and the $1.7-million project will likely be completed by the end of May 2017. After

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While any delay to moving into a new home can feel like a curtain drop, Verona Area Community Theater staff and performers can walk down Lincoln Street and start to see the tangible results of its successful fundraising campaign. The 14,625-square-foot, two-story building is expected to open next spring and will ultimately feature a 150-seat theater, dance studio, meeting and event spaces and expanded rehearsal, costuming, set-building and storage areas with a largely glass front facade. It’s the result of a $1.7 million fundraising campaign that began in late 2014. Project superintendent Mac McGilvray said the crew is currently “making progress” with the footings and “starting on walls.” When it arrives next month, the prefabricated steel building will go up almost like “an erector set” before being enclosed and insulated for interior work hopefully by “late December or early January,” he explained. An initial plan to begin construction in early July was pushed back a month after a contract with the City of Verona, which owns the site behind the fire station, was delayed. After the Common Council approved the contract July 25, Middleton-based 1848 Construction began work in early August. Delivery of the structure, however, was postponed until late October, McGilvray said. That sets back an anticipated move-in date from March or April to likely May 2017, after VACT completes its highly-popular – and very hectic – spring season with three youth productions. While VACT board president emeritus Terry Dvorak said it’s “really sad” to come to terms with the delay, seeing work begin on the site after years of anticipation and fundraising has helped renew community interest and draw some unexpected contributions. “I remember somebody telling us four years ago, ‘Be prepared, you’re going to have ups and downs and then you’ll feel depressed about how things are going, then something good will happen,’” Dvorak said. “And it’s absolutely true.”

Just nine years after moving into a 5,000-square-foot converted barn on Bruce Street, growing pains prompted VACT to launch its “Follow the Dream” fundraising campaign in late 2014 to raise money for a new facility. Board secretary Lynn Vilker, who is helping to oversee the campaign, told the Press Sept. 21 that the organization has since raised just over $1.4 million of its $1.7 million goal. Those funds have come from a variety of sources: the sale of its current building to the city for $360,000; $50,000 and $100,000 matching grants from the Madison Community Foundation and an anonymous donor, respectively; and hundreds of grassroots donations (and pledges) from individuals and area businesses. “I think it’s great that the community is behind us,” founder Dee Baldock said. “They’re very involved, and their contribution might have been $100 or $250, but they know they’re part of it because they made that contribution.” Dvorak said VACT “might even do better than we thought” financially, given the continued success of the campaign and changes to the building’s design early this summer that brought the estimated cost for the project from about $2.6 million to about $1.7 million. The organization is also pursuing additional grants and in-kind donations from contractors during the construction process, including a $10,000 gift from concrete supplier Lycon Inc. She said they’ll continue to brainstorm new fundraising opportunities when the new board of directors meets next month, and plan to keep members and donors informed through the new VACT newsletter. McGilvray, who also serves as the city’s District 1 alder, has watched his own daughter on the VACT stage, and he said that while it’s a long shot – and highly dependent on winter weather – he’s motivated to try and meet the organization’s first goal of debuting its spring shows in a brand new building. But he knows regardless of the timing, the first time those curtains go up will be “a very emotional day.” “They (VACT) have worked very hard to get where they are, there’s no doubt about that,” he added. “I’ll be excited for them when they get up on stage and they are introducing that first show.”

September 29, 2016

Verona Progress


Effort to salvage historic Matts House succeeds Historical group, local developer get city to allow rehabilitation

Matts House history

Jim Ferolie Verona Press editor

Just over a year after alders thought there was no choice but to tear down the oldest home in the city, the Matts House is on its way to being renewed. This week, a local rebuilding specialist expects to be closing on a contract with the City of Verona to purchase the house for $1 with several contingencies, including that there be no demolition. Troy Rost told the Press last week he plans to start physical work on the house in October and that a timeline he was submitting with the developer agreement promises to have the work finished within 18 months. That helps ensure that the building – more than 150 years old and located at the ultra-prominent corner of Main Street and Verona Avenue – will become a positive piece of Verona’s attempt at improving downtown, rather than further degrading into an eyesore. What goes inside and what happens to the landscaping and grounds of the building remains to be seen. But whatever it is, Rost said, his goal is to make sure it’s the best possible thing for Verona’s

Photo courtesy

A developer will rebuild the Matts House at the intersection of Verona Avenue and Main Street. And that’s how, after the by Jesse Charles, the group downtown. “I want to help get some city finally purchased the promised it would rehabilimore vibrancy down there,” property in spring 2015 to tate the structure if the city he told the Press. “It’s not get right-of-way for a future would allow it. They began hard to find tenants, it’s hard road expansion, city lead- researching and assessing ers came to the conclusion and even gathered a $50,000 to find the right tenant.” That home has had many it could not reasonably be donation, and the council tenants in its long, storied saved. That summer, a study agreed to perform some minhistory. The first was one of of the property’s condition imal repairs and postpone its the founders of Verona, Josi- had estimated it could cost destruction. E ve n t u a l l y, h ow eve r, ah Matts, and at one point it $1 million to rehabilitate, was the community’s Post and several alders and Com- Rost entered the picture Office, as Matts was the munity and Economic Devel- and persuaded the historical postmaster general. It’s also opment Authority members society and city to let him served as the home of a Civ- toured it and concluded the take charge of the project il War veteran, has been an city had no business spend- on a for-profit basis. They apartment, had a car dealer- ing that kind of money to deferred to his experience ship on its grounds and more save a historic structure. with the Stamm House – a recently, it was a flower shop A handful of local resi- large restaurant in Middleton and then a tutoring business. dents, including members of in an old, large home – and But other than a spruc- the Verona Area Historical other historic rehabilitation ing up in the early 1990s, Society and a Matts descen- projects. The council chose Rost it’s slowly degraded from a dant, pleaded with the Comstately Italianate icon into a mon Council to rethink the over another redevelopplans, and eventually, led er after they presented in bit of a ramshackle.

c. 1850: House is built 1980s: Property becomes a car dealership 1987: City rezones Sharpe house on opposite corner, which gets razed for Hardee’s 1989: Application for National Register of Historic Places goes unfinished 1991: City’s offer of $75,000 is rejected 1994: House becomes flower business 2004: Identical house across street razed for Walgreen’s 2008: Matts house becomes Norland Learning Center 2014: Norland moves March 2015: City buys house August 2015: Alders conclude house can’t be salvaged October 2015: Council agrees to postpone demolition March 2016: City chooses Troy Rost to rehabilitate the house August 2016: City approves developer agreement

March, and in August, alders approved the agreement. That deal says it cannot be demolished, it must remain taxable, the city can seek additional payment if the house is resold in less than 10 years and a portion of the property will be reserved for right ­of ­way for expansion at the Main Street-­Verona Avenue intersection. In addition, building plans for any major fixes must be approved within a year and the work must be completed in 18 months. That could be the trickiest part, Rost told the Press, because some of it will depend heavily on his tenant’s needs.

But, he said, the house has already drawn interest. And in any case, significant work on the building is starting quickly. First, Rost said, he’ll fix the roof, windows, anything related to water leakage and some of the masonry. That will allow work to continue through the winter on the interior, which will include tearing out walls and fixtures and further assessment and research on the structure. Next spring, he said, he’ll work on concrete, painting the white trim brown to match the historic photos and finish the masonry work.

Photo by Scott De Laruelle

The Fairfield Inn and Suites opened in January of this year on West Verona Avenue.

Finding room at the inn Fairfield joins ‘competitive environment’ for hotels Scott De Laruelle Unified Newspaper Group

As the new kid on the block of Verona’s growing number of hotels, Fairfield Inn and Suites has experienced some growing pains, but is “performing to expectations” in its first nine months. Those are the words of manager Charlie Eggen, who said while things are going well since the hotel opened in January, it’s been “challenging” on the weekends due to limited demand. “The fact is, our community has wonderful assets – a great Little League park, great soccer fields, a great hockey arena, bike trails,” he said. “But we can’t keep building hotels and expect those limited assets will keep driving enough people to create demand to fill an unlimited number of hotels.” The hotel was largely built to accommodate the steady stream of visitors to Epic, and Eggen said staff work closely with the company, calling it a “very close

partnership.” “We want to provide warm, memorable Wisconsin experiences to those travelers, because they’re coming from 13 different countries this year, and we want to make sure that when they’re in Verona, we want to make sure they choose Verona again,” he said. Eggen, who is also the president of the Greater Madison Hotel Association, said Epic’s presence isn’t a cure-all for the hotel, though, as the company has a “finite number of people” who often like to stay elsewhere. “Not everyone wants to stay in Verona,” he said. “Some people like to be in downtown Madison, where there’s more restaurants and shopping. Verona doesn’t have that. We live in a competitive environment.” The hotel has a “sister” next door, the Holiday Inn Express, which Eggen also manages. He said some travelers prefer a Holiday Inn versus a Marriott chain (which includes Fairfield Inn), so the arrangement works well, and the hotels are able to cut costs by sharing shuttle and other services. “Essentially, both hotels serve both business and leisure,” Eggen said. “We count on both of those brands to bring in customers.”

Photo by Samantha Christian

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September 29, 2016

Verona Progress

Town: Sending out surveys for input Continued from page 6 and town. It governs where the city expects to develop through extraterritorial jurisdiction and where the town can focus its own development in areas the city pledges to not take over. They weren’t done there, though, as officials then began to move forward on a new comprehensive plan. The plan will outline land use plans and zoning for the next 20 years in the town. Officials have broken the town down into nine areas and are sending out surveys area-by-area before holding public input meetings. Once all areas have gone through a meeting, officials will put all of the plan together and add in the other elements that go beyond zoning, like transportation and housing. With that ongoing, a decision coming on opting out of county zoning and the move to the new town hall building, the next year promises to be another busy one for the Town of Verona.

City-town boundary deal continues cooperation Jim Ferolie

After a few years of open hostility, then detente, the city and town began working together on a new plan for fire service, involving a new fire station and switching the department to an entirely city-run entity. Then they moved on to the boundary deal, which went through months of negotiation and several more months of adjustment after first presenting the idea to the public in November 2015. The plan creates a committee that will review all development in three of the four newly created town areas – A, B and D – and make recommendations to the board and council. It will have no formal power, and nothing in Area C will go through the committee. The four areas represent varying degrees of overlap in development interests: • Area A: Where the city expects to grow in the near future, such as the North Neighborhood, which is likely to begin growing immediately after the intersection of County Hwys. M and PD is rebuilt in 2017-18.

Unified Newspaper Group

The city and town of Verona wrapped up a decade of working on a new way of working together as a community with a boundary agreement this summer. It in many ways finished what the two entities tried to start in 2005 and eventually turned into an attempted consolidation that failed in 2008. After a rough, bitter stretch of four or five years after that referendum vote, the two sides began working together on a new intergovernmental agreement in 2014. What they came up with provides for different rules for subdividing land in four specific areas of the town – essentially opening the possibility of development in places the city doesn’t expect to grow. Both the Town Board and Common Council agreed unanimously, to a loud applause from about 30 people who watched the vote at the new Verona fire station.

• Area B: Where the city might have an interest in growing eventually, but town development might not present a problem if planned appropriately. That includes areas north of PD and west of Woods Road, as well as a large section on the south side of the town – parts of which are not actually in the city’s jurisdiction and therefore not affected by this agreement. • Area C: Where the city does not expect to ever expand into, the western, southern and northern fringes, particularly across the Sugar River. The city will exercise no rights over that land. • Area D: Existing town subdivisions, where the agreement essentially provides for only one action – annexation of an entire neighborhood block with the consent of both 80 percent of the owners and the city. That would likely only happen in the event of a connection to city utility service because of a massive septic or water failure.

Old Nine Mound Road becoming high-capacity Northern Lights Unified Newspaper Group

Photo by Jim Ferolie

The new intersection of Cross Country Road and Northern Lights opened in the spring. Through it all, amazingly, there will be no peak-traffic road closures or even lane closings, public works director Theran Jacobson told the Press. There can’t be, with the thousands of vehicles that travel into and out of Epic daily. There won’t even be a shutdown next summer when the PD-Nine Mound Road intersection moves and rejoins the newly renamed Northern Lights. “Traffic will remain on the ex i s t i n g r o a d b e d , t h e n w e will switch traffic to the new

westbound lanes, then we will demo the old road and build the new eastbound lanes,” Jacobson said. “Once those are completed, we’ll infill the medians.” That was also the case this summer, when the former Nine Mound was rebuilt from Cross Country Road to 500 feet south of the PD intersection – even though the road is essentially an isthmus between two old gravel pits. There were some weekend closures but no lane shutdowns during the week.

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As traffic to and from Epic has exploded over the past several years, Nine Mound Road and County Hwy. PD have sorely needed an expansion. The problem has been figuring out just how much they’ll need. So the scope of the project has continued to change, and its timing has also been affected by changes at the County Hwy. M and PD intersection. Over the past year, that’s gone from design to construction, and the whole project, from Woods Road and PD to Cross Country and Northern Lights is on track to be finished by the end of next year. The $13 million project involves a series of changes to the roads, including where they go and how they’re named. Cross Country Road now dead-ends into Northern Lights, and Nine Mound is ending at Cross Country, with Northern Lights now running from the Epic Lane stoplight at U.S. 151 to PD. By the end of next year, the PD intersection with Northern Lights will also be vastly different – 100 feet to the north, curving west and with extra lanes. What’s now the PD-Nine Mound intersection will be nothing but green space.

Jacobson expects work to begin on the PD intersection this fall, but no asphalt will be laid until next spring. Northern Lights/Cross The Nine Mound Road realignCountry ment has been in the works for years, and it is a joint project Stormwater pond finished – between the city and Epic. While November 2015 the exact breakdown of who pays for what has been in flux and JacobStreetlights and signals finson couldn’t give an exact answer, ished – January 2016 it essentially breaks down to the city using up the last of the tax-inPaving finished – August crement financing spending capac2016 ity before the closure of TID 7, the Epic TIF district that will finally Northern Lights realignbring a huge boost to city and (temment porarily) school district budgets. Roughly, that was expected to Design finished – September be about half and half when the 2015 two entities began turning their attention to the project in earnest Construction finished – two or three years ago. August 2016 Since then, it’s gone through several design changes, the bigNorthern Lights/PD gest of which was foregoing a Design finished – February tunnel underneath the PD/Northern Lights intersection in lieu of 2016 a new entry into the Epic camConstruction begins – pus that’s being planned around Shady Oak Lane. November 2016 Those projects are separate Construction finished – from the M and PD project that’s August 2017 a joint effort among the City of Verona, the City of Madison and Dane County. That intersection, which will include a westbound tunnel to speed Epic traffic along, is scheduled for a fall 2017 start has been delayed a few times but and a completion in late 2018.


Jim Ferolie

September 29, 2016

Verona Progress


Food: Diners, bar and grills coming soon

Chamber: Promotional campaign in the works

Continued from page 3

Continued from page 3

expected to open in the same complex as Arby’s in the near future. T h e c i t y ’s C o m m o n Council recently approved plans for a Gus’ Diner, a 2,800-square-foot family-run diner to be located off East Verona Avenue, and Lineage, a 5,900-squarefoot family-run sports bar and grill in Liberty Business Park. Monk’s Bar and Grill, which has locations around Wisconsin, will also take over Cuco’s Mexican Restaurant, the only restaurant in Verona to close over the past year. Photos by Samantha Christian Monk’s is expected to Sugar River Pizza opened its third location earlier this year, open in December, while in Liberty Business Park. Lineage is planned for an August 2017 opening. No timeline was announced for Gus’ Diner. For those looking for a different type of option for an evening out, Fisher King Winery is also expected to move into Liberty Business Park from its current location in Mount Horeb as soon as the end of November. Owner Alwyn Fitzgerald said the location will support more food options, likely small plates, than his current spot. The group that opened over the past year, though, already offers plenty for people with different tastes. Here’s a bit more about each:

Liberty Business Park, which is hosting several new businesses and will be anchored by a Hyatt Hotel scheduled to open in 2017. Liberty Park is joined by several other new developments, including the West End development project. Additionally, we can point with pride and pleasure to the many new businesses that have sprung up. These include Sugar River Pizza, Toot n’ Kate’s, JNJ Craftworks, Minerals and More and the Fairfield Inn and Suites. Established businesses that have moved or will soon move here include Arby’s, Dairy Queen, Jimmy Johns, Taco Bell, Budget Blinds, Fisher King Winery and Storm Guard Restoration. Some under construction businesses include True Studio, Gus’ Diner, Noel Manor, AT&T Custom Communications and Sherwin-Williams, with many more in the planning stages. As with most vibrant communities, the growth and success of businesses is enhanced and stabilized by what it offers recreationally and in the areas of culture and the arts. Spectators and participants have almost unlimited venues and recreational options year-round. Our sports facilities and events continue to draw visitors from near and far, with soccer, baseball and hockey tournaments, National Short Track Speed Skating Championships, a key loop in the Ironman competition and for 2016 and the next two years – the AmFam Senior PGA Champions Tournament, which introduced the Le Jordan is the executive director of the Verona area to thousands of golf fans. Verona Area Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to sports, those who live in or visit Verona have a unique opportunity to take in some of the best nature has to offer. As the home to one of the largest spans of the Ice Age Trail we are becoming an official Ice Age Trail Community. And of course, there are the outstanding Military Ridge Bike Trail, Fireman’s Park and many attractive area parks. Live entertainment is a growing commodity in Verona, as Wisconsin Brewing Company offers bands and beverages on their beautiful corporate grounds. Varied musical offerings are featured at Tuvalu Coffeehouse and Gallery, an enthusiastic full house enjoys weekly trivia at Hop Haus Brewing and large crowds enjoy the Summer Concert Series at Harriet Park – sponsored by the City and the Verona Area Chamber of Commerce. And the Verona Library sponsors regular programming for community members of all ages. Oh, and did we mention the annual Hometown Days that always draws a great regional crowd and serves as an important fundraiser for many of our local community groups? In the midst of this, and all around us in Verona, there is an unmistakable aura of progress with the addition of many new services, shopping options, amenities and community activities. These have continued improving the quality of life here. In the end, it is both the health of the business community and the quality of living or visiting here that is the focus of your Verona Area Chamber of Commerce.

Sugar River Pizza

Treads took over the former Michael’s Frozen Custard locaSugar River Pizza’s third tion and played the building’s former role as a gas station location brought the chain into its theme. further north than it had been before. With two locations – New Glarus and Belleville – already open and owned by her parents, Sarah Thomas decided to open her location in Verona with her husband Ross. The former Epic employee touted the restaurants menu of specialty pizzas, plus it features plenty of beers on tap. Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, the restaurant also features pasta dishes, salads and sandwiches. The restaurant that first opened last fall before briefly shutting down and reopening in the spring offers a classic bar and grill that specializes in hamburgers along with several appetizers and sandwiches. Treads, at 407 W. Verona Ave., opens at 8 a.m. on weekends to offer breakfast options as well and daily specials include a Friday fish fry and buy-one-getone-half-price burgers on Mondays. The restaurant’s hours during the week are 10 a.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to midnight Sunday. The atmosphere proudly plays off of the building’s history as a gas station.

Pizza Ranch The pizza chain’s second Dane County location is Verona, and it offers a simple pizza buffet with options for salads and sandwiches, too.

Pizza Ranch opened earlier this year off East Verona Avenue. Pizza Ranch, located at 100 Keenan Court, is the first restaurant for owners Bill and Bonnie Walther, of Waunakee. The Western-themed eatery, open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, offers a 28-item salad bar, dessert table and ice cream machine in addition to what its name makes obvious. Pizza Ranch is a 34-yearold Iowa-based chain of restaurants that also has locations in Sun Prairie, Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells.

Taco Bell Taco Bell likely needs little introduction as a national chain. But it offers on-the-go Mexican food across from the city’s often-busy baseball fields. Before the restaurant opened earlier this year at 671 Hometown Circle, those

craving a “fourth-meal” quesadilla or taco had to go to McKee Road in Fitchburg. The restaurant’s hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

New bridge over Locust

The Locust Street bridge over U.S. Hwy. 18-151 was expanded this past spring to accommodate pedestrian traffic. With both subdivisions south of the bypass expanding rapidly, the bridge project was a long-planned expansion for safety. It closed for about two months, and the project added an 8-foot bike/pedestrian path to the existing 30 feet of pavement. The developers of Scenic Ridge and Cathedral Point are required to pay back the $940,000 cost over five years.

Proudly serving Verona for 11 years!

Arby’s Another fast food option just down the street from Taco Bell provides food to satisfy a different craving. Arby’s, with the slogan, “We have the meats,” offers a menu focused on roast beef and other sandwiches, with other traditional fastfood fare as well. At 631 Hometown Circle, Verona residents Mike and Jennifer Breitfelder opened their ninth Arby’s location in the area. Their other locations are mostly in Dane County, with one in Dubuque, Iowa. The restaurant is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily for inside dining and until 11 p.m. in the drive-thru.



Photo by Jim Ferolie


September 29, 2016

Verona Progress

New Business Questionnaires

Adore Salon Address: 951 Kimball Lane #106 Principal owner or leader: Holly Siegenthaler Opening/arrival date: Jan. 12, 2016 Number of employees: 1 Charity connections/plans: Looking for opportunities Verona connection: Started working in Verona in 2010 and stayed to accommodate my wonderful clientele What’s special about your business or the focus of your business? A family-friendly environment.

Pizza Ranch Address: 100 Keenan Ct. Principal owner or leader: Bill and Bonnie Walther Opening/arrival date: June 6, 2016 Number of employees: 70 Charity connections/plans: Badger Prairie Needs Network and several others Verona connection: Verona is a strong community and ever growing marketplace. We wish to have a positive impact in our community What’s special about your business or the focus of your business? It is our desire to have a positive impact on the world and our local community, from building schools in Ethiopia to donating food to local food pantries.

Moments to Cherish Bridals

Photos by Samantha Christian and Scott Girard (top right)

er service and satisfaction in a relaxing environment.

GYM 608 Address: 807 Liberty Dr., Suite 109 Principal owner or leader: Alecia Jacobson Opening/arrival date: Jan. 15, 2016 Charity connections/plans: Alecia is a coach for Girls on the Run and also has run Blessing Bootcamp where all proceeds made are donated to help those who are homeless in Madison. What’s special about your business or the focus of your business? We are a community of people who support each other inside and outside the gym. You will get stronger, leaner, and more confident. We are a small boutique style gym so you won’t get lost in the mix!

Number of employees: 20 Charity connections: No Kid Hungry Verona connection: We are long-term Verona residents and felt it was time for Arby’s What’s special about your business? Arby’s specializes in fast-crafted sandwiches using a variety of deli meats sliced fresh daily.

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vices that today’s homesellers and homebuyers expect. We are here to provide those services. We are also the “Real Estate Company of Choice” for Liberty Park, and will be handling all the vacant lot sales and apartment rentals at Liberty Park – and we are very patient on all aspects of Liberty Park. What’s special about your business or the focus of your business? Through our affiliation with NextHome (the fastest growing real estate franchise in the country), the sales and marketing tools we can offer our homebuying and homeselling clients are beyond what any other company in the greater Madison area can offer its clientele. We are unabashedly proud of that fact.

here to bring back and make new memories to this old gas station. What’s special about your business? The unique atmosphere that is inside with all of our old gas station memorabilia.

Signarama and EmbroidMe

Address: 807 Liberty Drive, Suite 111 Address: 303 E. Verona Ave. Principal owner or leader: Principal owner or leader: Jean Anderson Address: 957 Liberty Dr., Arlene DeFores Opening/arrival date: May Suite 201 Opening/arrival date: Oct. 1, 2, 2016 Principal owner or leader: 2015 Number of employees: 5 Randy Lenz, Broker/Owner Number of employees: 4 Charity connections/plans: Opening/arrival date: Feb. Verona connection: Verona As the business continues 1, 2016 was a growing community to grow, we will give back Number of employees: Five that needed a bridal/formal to Verona with our time and licensed agents and two adwear business that was close talents by volunteering within min staff at this time, but are to my home. My first summer the community. in a growing phase. job was in Verona and I had Verona connection: Born and great memories of how the Charity connections/plans: Address: 1055 North Edge raised in Madison, I have deep community was so friendly We are members of the Vero- Trail family roots in the Madison and welcoming. na Chamber of Commerce and Principal owner or leader: area with family and friends the Verona BNI Networking What’s special about your Betsy Taake living in Verona. It just seemed Professionals group, and will business or the focus of your like a natural place to begin Opening/arrival date: Aug. be very active in the commubusiness? We would like to a business with Verona’s 1, 2016 nity as we grow. make a growing presence in Address: 631 Hometown thriving and Hometown, USA, the community. Provide qual- Circle, Suite 4 Number of employees: 0 Verona connection: We see spirit. I love the sense of comity formal attire/special occa- Principal owner or leader: Verona as an underserved Charity connections/plans: munity in Liberty Park that sions for all ages and sizes at Mike Breitfelder market when it comes to the School activities/volunteering, Dean Slaby and David Rienke reasonable prices. We strive cutting edge real estate seranimal charities have brought to the developto provide you great custom- Opening date: Sept. 8, 2016 ment. It’s all about that we Verona connection: Family – Great school, great commu- are in this together and wish to continue to make Verona a nity. Daughter is a freshman destination everyone wants to this year, Verona seems like visit, work and/or live. the school to be at. She’s 2016-2017 Season doing tennis, pottery, horses, What’s special about your making lots of friends. business or the focus of your business? We are two stores What’s special about your business or the focus of your in one. We look to other businesses to do what they do business? To make people “Stayin’ Alive” Canada best and we will do the rest in look beautiful so they feel World’s #1 Tribute to the Bee Gees good about themselves. “Stay signs, banners, apparel and Sat., Nov. 5, 2016 • 7:30 pm Grieg Chorus & promotional items to help Gorgeous!” the Stoughton Norwegian Dancers them grow their business.

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Arby’s Restaurant

Verona Area Performing Arts Series


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Address: 407 W. Verona Ave. Principal owner: Mark Tuescher Opening date: March 2016 Number of employees: 5-8 Charity connections: In the future we plan on doing some car washes to help raise money for different organizations. Verona connection: We are

The Goddard School Address: 102 Prairie Oaks Dr. Principal owner or leader: Mawara Sohail, on-site owner Opening/arrival date: April 18, 2016 Number of employees: 22 Charity connections/plans: Working with VACT, the

library, Little League Sponsorship, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Verona connection: Residents of Verona since 2005. Raising two children of our own in this community. Sensed a need for education based, high quality childcare center. What’s special about your business or the focus of your business? Most of the preschools in Dane County are either operated by large corporations or family run. Our school is very unique in that it brings the benefit of both local ownership and large scale. We are led by an on-site owner who lives in the community and backed by experience and guidance from over 450 other Goddard Schools across the country. We are heavily focused on education preparing the children for success in academics and life. We take a proven curriculum, teaching methods, toys, classroom layout, evaluation methods and a lot more from over 450 schools and bring it to the Verona community in a safe learning environment where the parents see the owners at the school every single day.

Sugar River Pizza Address: 957 Liberty Dr. Principal owner or leader: Sarah Thomas Opening/arrival date: March 2016 Website: verona

Anaala Salon Address: 957 Liberty Dr. Opening/arrival date: Aug. 1, 2016 Website:

JNJ Craft Works Address: 1051 North Edge Trail Principal owner/leader: Jerina Vincent Opening/arrival date: September 2016 Website:

Toot and Kate’s Address: 109 S. Main St. Principal owner/leader: Kate and Ryan Biechler and Megan Clark Opening/arrival date: March 2016 Website: tootandkates

Minerals and More Address: 1035 North Edge Trail Principal owner/leader: Karen Edmund Opening/arrival date: Nov. 1, 2015 Website: mineralsandmore

Gingko Tree Address: 107 S. Main St. Principal owner/leader: Rachel Thorson-Schmied Opening/arrival date: November 2015 Website:

September 29, 2016

Verona Progress


Mayor: City, businesses continue to invest Continued from page 2

Photo by Jim Ferolie

A 130-room Hyatt Place hotel is quickly becoming the centerpiece of Liberty Business Park.

Liberty: Hotel expected to open in winter Continued from page 2 and filled, and the first retail building opened early this year. The second, nearly identical retail building is being finished and another, behind the first, is in the early stages. And in the middle of it all is a 130-room hotel.

Settling in, setting up Few projects have met the ambitious timelines set for them – the Hyatt Place, for example, was set to open before Epic’s Users’ Group Meetings this month but won’t open until next year. And several planned tenants have switched locations or swapped with different tenants. In other cases, a building has been planned and approved but has changed or has not yet started – such as a day care, a sports bar with a patio and volleyball courts and a banquet center for the hotel. But construction has been a constant there, and none of the buildings have empty space for long. One of those that has been approved but not yet started is Reinke’s own company, Liberty Parts Team. Last fall, his team got a p p r ova l t o bu i l d t h a t 64,000-square-foot facility on the northern end of the development, but there’s been no movement since then. Around the same time, they got the city’s OK to make more of the development commercial – particularly along Liberty Drive. But since then, the focus has been on the buildings closest to County Hwy. M. Several of those are on Liberty Drive, and they’re adding complementary retail businesses along with second-floor offices into what the developer sees as a high-visibility corridor. The buildings have basic names – Retail 1, Flex 2, etc. – and all follow similar earth-tone and pastel-colored patterns building on a Verona, Italy, theme. The two retail buildings on M are mirror images of one another, and each is anchored with a restaurant – the first has had Sugar River Pizza for several months and the second is planned to include a 5,800-square-foot restaurant that has gone through several potential

Liberty Park timeline 1998: Area master planned for industrial 2000: TIF project plan created 2002: Continental Properties proposes retail, then David Reinke purchases it 2007-08: Reinke’s retail plans fail to advance 2009: City annexes land 2010: CARPC approves expansion, city approves industrial plan May 2011: Council approves TIF deal Spring 2012: City extends utility lines to park along Whalen Road October 2012: Council revises TIF agreement Fall 2012: First earthwork – stormwater pond and Liberty Drive March 2013: Liberty joins states Certified Sites program September 2013: City begins installing utility lines under Liberty Drive April 2014: Groundbreaking for first flex building July 2014: Approval of three more buildings, including hotel September 2014: Groundbreaking for second flex building March 2015: First building opens June 2015: Groundbreaking for first two retail buildings Fall 2015: Hyatt Place construction begins names, including Verona Woods, Turner’s and Lineage. Behind those two buildings are Retail 4 and 5. One is under construction and is earmarked for a December opening for the Fisher King Winery. The other is expected to break ground next spring and have a health and wellness focus, including a salon and chiropractor. Meanwhile, the Hyatt Place hotel continues its march toward an anticipated winter opening. Originally planned to be a 230room combination Hyatt Place-Hyatt House, it was split into two projects to accelerate its timeline and was originally set to open before Sept. 19.

Big plans This is only the beginning for Reinke, who envisions a $500 million development, as he told the Wisconsin State Journal in March. However, he’s held off bringing those specifics to the city despite multiple pleas to do so from the Common Council and Plan Commission. His team has submitted individual pieces such as the hotel and the restaurant buildings and, more recently, an amphitheater project that would

bring apartments above a string of retail units. The city’s Plan Commission didn’t like the idea of bringing housing to a busy corner surrounded by a business park and separated by a busy highway from schools, and the project was withdrawn. Reinke was unavailable to comment on the project for this story after multiple phone calls and emails during a two-week period, however, and city planning director Adam Sayre told the Press has heard nothing more about the project since it went through the commission in August. Reinke told the Press in January his Liberty Parts Team project would have to wait for the city to finish Liberty Drive, which will connect to Whalen Road. The city cleared the way for the park’s first construction in 2011 by approving a developer agreement with a $6 million TIF package and spent $1.7 million installing utility lines along Whalen Road and building the southern part of Liberty Drive. But the park needs to generate property value to avoid tax penalties in its deal and in order to make any subsequent tax-increment-financed construction happen.

Grove subdivision in 2016, which contains 32-single-family lots and is located south of Glacier Edge Elementary School. Lots in the Hometown Grove subdivision will be available in the near future. The next large growth area for the city is the North Neighborhood in the area west of County Hwy. M and south of County Hwy. PD. The city anticipates development starting in 2018 and will include residential, multi-family and commercial land uses. Due to the close proximity to Epic, low vacancy rates in the Madison area and changes in housing preferences, multi-family demand remains strong throughout the region and city. In 2016, 45-multi-family units started construction in the Scenic Ridge neighborhood. The city continues to manage apartment development through the use of a residential development phasing policy that limits the number of apartments that can be constructed each year. Senior housing and mixed-use projects are exempted from the policy to encourage those types of developments. While the Madison region continues to construct apartments at a rapid and potentially overbuilt pace, the phasing policy ensures the City of Verona will not become overbuilt with apartments.

south of the Fire and EMS Station. Rainbow Child Care Center will start construction in the near future on a new daycare facility on Hometown Circle. Additional development has also been approved east of Farm and Fleet, including a daycare, fitness studio and Gus’ Diner. The city anticipates 2017 will continue to be a busy year for non-residential development. New commercial development is currently being planned along West Verona Avenue in the West End, which will provide much needed commercial development on the west side of the city.

Other city projects

Verona continues to invest in maintaining its streets and other infrastructure. Church Street, Grove Street and Marietta Street were reconstructed this summer, including the replacement of underground utilities. Several streets were resurfaced this year, including Commerce Parkway, South Hillcrest Drive, Jenna Court, Noel Way and Schweitzer Drive. The City continues to surface treat streets to extend their life and reduce the overall cost to the taxpayer. Community programs are also important parts to the growth and development of the city. Services through the Verona Senior Center and the library continue to be well-attended by residents. The Senior Downtown improvements Center is coordinating dementia friendly A variety of improvements continue to training for businesses and organizations be made in the downtown. to move Verona toward being a demenA new municipal parking lot was con- tia-friendly community. structed behind the Sow’s Ear, providing additional parking for downtown Financial condition businesses. Phase 1 of the streetscaping The City of Verona is committed to improvements have begun and include the sound financial management. reconstruction of the Veterans MemoriEconomic development has been prial at Hometown Junction Park. The new oritized and achieved through the use of memorial and fountain will be completed tax-increment financing districts (TIDs). before the end of 2016. The City maintains two active TIDs, Additional enhancements to the down- including the Downtown TID (4) and TID town streets are planned in 2017 to cre- 6, which includes Liberty Business Park ate a walkable downtown. The downtown and the Verona Technology Park. continues to remain a priority for the city. All of these accomplishments would not be possible without the dedicated work Nonresidential development of excellent city staff. This past year we Outside of the downtown, Epic contin- have seen many changes in city personnel, ues to grow and will have approximate- including the retirement of Ron Reider, ly 9,900 employees by the end of 2016. public works director for 33 years, and Current construction at Epic includes the the leaving of Kami Scofield, city clerk parking structure and buildings in Cam- for five years, Bill Burns, city administrapus 5. The city has a strong relationship tor for six years, Brian Flannery, building with Epic that will continue into the inspector for 13 years, Todd Parkos, assisfuture. tant building inspector for eight years, Commercial growth has continued in Jennifer Miller from the Senior Center, Liberty Business Park. The 136-room Kyle Larson from the Library and police Hyatt Place hotel is currently under con- officers Christopher Stanton, Joel Zietsma struction and will be completed in early and Edward Witkiewicz. 2017. Fisher King Winery will be relocatI know that the new personnel will have ing to Liberty Business Park and plans on the same drive, ethic, leadership and dedopening in late 2016. Further, The Vero- ication to serving our residents as current na Woods restaurant will be opening in and past Verona employees. November and will provide additional sitI truly appreciate the opportunity to down dining options in the City. serve as your mayor, and I encourage anyAdditional development is also occur- one with questions, comments or suggesring along East Verona Avenue. A new tions about Verona to contact me, memSherwin-Williams store is currently under bers of the Common Council, or city staff. construction immediately west of Culver’s. The Verona Area Community TheJon Hochkammer has been the mayor of ater’s new building is under construction the City of Verona since 2006.

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16 Verona Progress - September 29, 2016

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2016 Verona Progress  
2016 Verona Progress