Verona Progress 2019
A supplement to the Verona Press
September 26, 2019
Upgrades prompt increase in attendance KIMBERLY WETHAL Unified Newspaper Group
A rebuild and expansion of Fireman’s Park – including a splash pad – led to some more foot traffic during the summer season. The $3 million renovation that added the splash pad also upgraded other park amenities, such as the beach, playground equipment, the shelter and parking area. The park reopened in June after nine months of construction, a week later than its usual summer schedule. It still brought in 9,200 visitors to the beach based on beach ticket sales, Casey Dudley, city recreation director, told the Press in the beginning of September. That was a 50 percent increase from prior years, and he pointed out those numbers are just for the beach – the splash pad and playground are free, so tracking the number of people patronizing those features each day can’t be done through fees. Often, the splash pad was full of children playing within 30 minutes of it opening each day, city parks and urban forestry director Dave Walker said. “It was always busy, it seemed like,” he told the Press in September. “If you had to do cleaning ... you had to get down there before 9 a.m. otherwise there’d be too many people to work around.” File photos by Kimberly Wethal The project started in September 2018 after the closure of the beach Adele Radke turns the butterfly sprinkler toward her friend Norah Wasvick, left, as they play on the splash pad at Fireman’s Park on Tuesday, June 25.
Turn to Park/Page 10
Message from the mayor
Focus is on sustainability as we keep growing
hank you for allowing me to serve “My goal is for Verona to keep as mayor of Verona over the last year. My its hometown feel even as we goal is for Verona to keep its grow in ways that are both hometown feel even as we grow in ways that are both fiscally and environmentally fiscally and environmentally sustainable.” sustainable. Below is a summary of Luke Diaz, mayor what has been happening in Diaz Verona over the last year and things to look forward to in the coming year. feet of office, commercial, and industrial space. Residential development These numbers include the construction Housing demand is a function of local of Epic’s Jules Verne building, UW Credit and regional income, employment, and Union and Festival Foods on East Verohousehold growth. Job, household, and na Avenue and Attainment Company’s income growth in the region continue expansion project in Liberty Business to drive housing demand. In 2018, there Park. Market No. 5 is a 29,000 square foot were 61 single-family permits issued. The city has seen additional apartment commercial development on West Verodevelopment, as well. The city continues na Avenue north of the West End Apartto see strong residential growth in the ments. The developer anticipates breaking existing subdivisions including Cathedral ground later this fall. Point, Hometown Grove and Kettle Creek Other city projects: North. Fireman’s Park beach and splash pad Downtown improvements reopened on June 21 after renovations. County Highway PD between Woods Additional flowers and landscaping were added this year to Hometown Junc- Road and County Highway M will be tion Park. These plantings have been well expanded and improved from a two-lane received and help provide a more enjoy- rural road to a four-lane urban boulevard. able experience in this downtown gather- Utility improvements will be a part of that road construction project. ing area. The County Highway M expansion projThe Treehouse, formerly known as Seventeenth Radish, rehabilitated its new ect is planned to be completed in late 2019. The city adopted a sustainability resolulocation on East Verona Avenue to provide after school enrichment programs tion in 2019 to take steps to make the city for children ages 2-10 with help from the more resilient and to do our part to combat climate change. Verona revolving loan fund. The city began planning for the redevelNon-residential development opment of the Sugar Creek Elementary In 2018, approximately 113,000 square School property. Development of this land feet of office, commercial and industri- most likely won’t begin until 2021 at the al space was either added to our existing earliest. The city is still in the brainstorming stock or improved. To date in 2019, per- phase, and no decisions have been made. If mits have been pulled to add, expand, or you have any feedback on what could go rehabilitate approximately 173,000 square
Turn to Growing/Page 10
September 26, 2019
Verona Area School District
T-minus one year New VAHS approaches opening next fall SCOTT GIRARD Unified Newspaper Group
Photo courtesy Verona Area School District
Construction materials sit in the middle of the new Verona Area High School, which is planned to be completed next year, with staff moving into the building in July 2020 and students taking classes a few months later in September. were unclear, as the district and City of Verona were still working out details of an agreement to provide funding for some of the road work. Within a year, the Wildcats will be playing home games on that turf and students and community members will be taking laps in the pool. The eventual deal with the city that helped make them
possible, which required the district to pay for the road improvements around the school, provided the district $4.5 million in exchange for the Sugar Creek Elementary School land. That land won’t be used for an elementary school after this school year as students will transition to other buildings when the new high
Message from the superintendent
Building for 2020 tops this year’s priorities
elcome to the 2019-20 school year! The mission of the Verona Area School District is: Every Student Must Be Successful. The entire staff of the Verona Area School District (VASD) from teachers to support staff, food service, custodians, Gorrell administrators and Board of Education is completely committed to focus on making this the best educational experience for your child(ren). Every year, the district has many items to spotlight, but in the last few years, a couple of these items continue to remain a major priority as we address the remarkable growth of our communities and our staff’s focus to ensure we meet our mission. This year, we are spotlighting:
school students will be in what is now known as the K-Wing of the high school. The renovations required to make those spaces suitable for their new age groups will mostly take place next summer – the reason the school year began Aug. 23 and is set to end in May. By the time that happens, the district’s newest building
should be mostly furnished and nearing its final touches, and school staff are expected to begin to move in around July. Two months later, high school students are expected to enter the classrooms of the new campus for the first time of what district leaders hope will be at least 50 years to come.
PROUD TO BE PART OF VERONA’S PROGRESS FOR OVER 35 YEARS!
changes At its July 23 meeting, the Board of Education voted on attendance area boundaries for our elementary and middle schools taking effect in the 2020-2021 school year. The board approved a phased-in approach for transitioning middle school students and is still deliberating on the extent of grandfathering, if any, for elementary school students. Once those decisions are made, we will be sending out information to all families. In the meantime, you can find all things related to the boundaries process by visiting the boundary adjustments sub-page of the Building for 2020 site.
In the summer of 2018, the Board approved our five-year strategic plan, • Our “Building for 2020” campaign which is built to support the mission of • School attendance boundary changes Every Student Being Successful. • Our five-year strategic plan Additionally, the Board established two • Establishing personalized learning plans goals of removing the predictability of stufor every student this school year dent outcomes and resource allocation. As we start year two of the plan, we will Building for 2020 be aligning systems, policy and resources in support of that plan and the Board In April 2017, the voters of the Verona goals. Visit verona.k12.wi.us/Strategic Area School District overwhelmingly Plan to view our entire five-year plan. approved three referendum questions to build a new high school, remodel and Personalized learning repurpose Badger Ridge Middle School/ Core Knowledge Charter School and the In April of 2013, the Board of Educaexisting high school and K-Wing. Addition approved the goal that every student tionally, voters approved an operational in VASD would have a personalized referendum to pay for additional staff learning plan. A great deal of work on related to the new building. building the necessary technology infraOur new high school project is nearly structure and staff training has occurred, 70% completed and is on schedule to and we have implemented personalized open in fall 2020. I encourage you to visit learning in every classroom of every our website, verona.k12.wi.us/Buildingschool. for2020 to see pictures, drone video and Each student has completed the goal other documents related to this construcof having a Personalized Learning Plan tion project. (PLP). We also created a personalized
School attendance boundary
school opens. Sugar Creek students will move to the current Badger Ridge Middle School building, with those middle school students moving to the neighboring existing high school building. Core Knowledge Charter School students will be in the current high school with them, while New Century and Verona Area International
Turn to Building/Page 11
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No students are in the hallways or classrooms, but the new Verona Area High School is less than a year away from opening. Work over the past year has taken the building from its guts and outer shell to the general condition – at least on the outside – that students will find it when they arrive for the first day of school in the 2020-21 school year. That transformation is now spreading beyond the high school site, as road work has begun to expand West Verona Avenue and other projects related to the expected traffic increases are soon to begin. The 589,600 square foot building, located off West Verona Avenue near the U.S. Hwy. 18-151 bypass on the southwest side of the city, is the result of the successful $182 million spring 2017 referendum package. The three questions on that ballot, each approved, covered the building, athletic fields, a pool and ongoing operating funding. A year ago, the fate of a planned second pool and turf for the football field
September 26, 2019
Verona gets a second grocery store option Festival Foods touts more modern shopping experience SCOTT DE LARUELLE Unified Newspaper Group
It’s been a few years in the making, but when Verona’s second grocery store opens Oct. 11 on the city’s west side, it will be a company’s prototype for the very future of grocery shopping. And once it opens, it will be staying open for a while. Plans for the 24-hour grocery store at 660 Hometown Circle were initially approved Festival Foods in 2017 to Verona s t a r t c o nstruction 600 Hometown the followCircle ing year Hours: 24/7 but were Open date: put off until Friday, Oct. 11 l a s t fa l l ’s groundbreaking. In the meantime, company officials altered the interior layout, decor and facade designs for what Festival Foods store planning director Aaron Aspenson said will be their first store with the company’s modern-leaning look. Even after the year’s delay on construction, he said the project will be completed as planned. “We’re excited about all the changes we’ve made to the building,” he told the Press last week. “We’re rolling a whole bunch of new stuff in the Verona market (that’s) more aligned with our brand image, and really what the communities want to see anyway, just a better, more modern looking store.” The 67,000 square foot store will be the 33rd for the DePere based chain, but it will have a much different look and feel from
Festival Foods Verona
Photo by Kimberly Wethal
Construction crews work on the Festival Foods building, which is scheduled to open in October. that of its predecessors. While groceries are “obviously our bread and butter,” Aspenson said providing an enjoyable shopping experience is a goal of the new design. In the parking lot, customers will be able to use vehicle charging stations, and once inside, WiFi will be available as they shop, as will the store’s “Tot Spot,” offering supervised child care for kids ages 18 months through 7 years throughout the day to let parents shop in relative
peace. “My wife and I use it when we’re grocery shopping, and it’s awesome,” he said. “She loves it.” For those who feel like sitting down for a bit, the store will feature a “Hometown Cafe,” where people can sit down and enjoy a meal from the deli or grab some food to go. “That will be a cool spot,” Aspenson said. “It’s got big, large windows, and it’s right on the corner of our store. Customers can also reserve a
community conference room, or if they don’t want to even bother navigating the aisles, they can use the store’s “Click and Go” online shopping. When it opens, the store – the largest in the city to debut since Blain’s Farm and Fleet in 2007 – likely will have an immediate impact on the area, both in terms of employment and residents’ shopping habits. Aspenson the company plans to hire around 230 employees for the store, with hiring still ongoing.
And with its round the clock hours, it’s also going to be a change for Veronans used to heading toward the center of the city to Miller and Sons, or grabbing groceries on the way back from Madison. Aspenson said “a lot of grocery dollars” have been leaving the city, presenting a clear need for another option. “Verona is one of those communities that’s growing fast,” he said. “We’re just really excited about it, and I think people are really going to like it.”
Message from the chamber
Verona’s vibrancy serves our residents, businesses
he Verona Area Chamber of Commerce and the area it serves seemingly parallel one another in terms of new offerings and quality of life enhancements each year. Both continue to grow as new businesses as well recreational, cultural and Jordan community events evolve. The chamber is pleased to note that in many cases, these new enterprises and endeavors have had the tangible support of the chamber from their earliest planning stages through the ribbon cutting and beyond. Others have begun at the chamber itself. 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. The newest businesses in Verona range from larger organizations adding new locations – UW Credit Union – to sole proprietorships, such as Icki Sticki and Wisco Green and everything in between. Many existing businesses benefited from the vibrancy and growth of Verona as well as the expansion of their already successful ventures (Noel Manor, N+1, Treehouse (formerly 17th Radish). Others continued to serve our community by passing the torch to new management – Craig’s Cake Shop and Mr. Brew’s Taphouse. These are only a few examples of the changes in
Turn to Chamber/Page 14
September 26, 2019
Photos by Kimberly Wethal
A staff member at Big Apple Early Learning Academy feeds an infant.
‘Epic Baby Boom’ fueling increased child care demand SCOTT DE LARUELLE Unified Newspaper Group
N ow h e r e i s Ve r o n a ’s continued growth more apparent than around area daycares, which are filling from a surge in the city’s youngest demographic. T h r e e d a y c a r e s h ave opened in since 2016, and one of those expanded less than two years after it opened.
Child care isn’t a problem unique to Verona, but some local circumstances have added to the demand – particularly for the youngest. Ve r o n a a d m i n i s t r a t o r Adam Sayre said it’s seemingly been fueled in part by a mini “Baby Boom” from the wave of Epic employees who’ve settled around the area in recent years. “ I t ’s b e e n q u i t e t h e
explosion,” he told the that are filling area daycarPress last week. “(They) es. are starting to get a little “(Most) are pretty much bit older, and a lot of those full; that’s the impression people have kids. Since Epic doesn’t have an onsite daycare, they want to be close to their kids if something happens.” But it’s not just Epic, he said, as the city is seeing more younger families in general moving into the city and having children
I ’ m g e t t i n g ,” h e s a i d . are going pretty well, too. “We’ve got some people The last two or three years, that turn them out of their Turn to Baby/Page 12 houses, and I know those
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September 26, 2019
Road work again makes travel a hassle for Veronans KIMBERLY WETHAL
how Verona drivers travel into Madison. Luckily for them, it’s coming up on its final year, and soon enough, drivers won’t all be sitting at a four-way stop. With the completion of the bridge over Verona Road connecting northbound drivers to Williamsburg Way this summer and the overpass infrastructure over the McKee Road intersection, crews are now paving the lanes for Verona Road. Next year, the project, which started in 2013, will have three lanes each way from McKee Road to Raymond Road.
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If you thought it was hard to get out of Verona to surrounding communities last year, this year hasn’t been much better. Some high-profile projects are still going, despite nearing the end of their timelines, and other projects that were smaller became a nuisance because they involved roads that became the detours to avoid the larger projects. But by the end of the year, many are expected to be completed, with just one major project lasting into 2020. That includes the CounNesbitt-Fitchrona ty Hwy. M expansion to roundabout four lanes, two overpasses on the Verona Road project A City of Fitchburg projand the Fitchrona-Nesbitt Photo by Jim Ferolie ect has caused a headache roundabout, all of which The County Hwys. M and PD intersection nears completion in September 2019. As of late September, westbound traffic on for Verona drivers during have been planned for a PD travels in an underpass and does not stop. the latter half of the year. decade or more. The Nesbitt and Fitchrona Road intersection was County Hwy. M westbound traffic on PD. – including $1.3 million for Oregon. Phase 2 will have Way, which is the second ripped up this summer to The project began last required land acquisition. a greater impact on Verona access point to the campus. T h e C o u n t y H w y. M install a roundabout at the A bridge will also be project, which covers a 3 year after being named The most recent phase has drivers, with the road being former four-way stop as mile stretch between Cross a priority in 2007 by the kept the road ripped up for repaved west of Fish Hatch- installed over the Military a way to alleviate traffic ery Road to Thousand Oak Ridge State Trail, closing more than a year. county, and traffic on the Country and Prairie Hill back-ups. It’s scheduled the trail for a week or two. A different project on Trail starting Oct. 7. roads, is scheduled to be road has only gotten worse to be finished by October, All work is scheduled to County Hwy. M – south of with the expansion of Epic, finished by Nov. 1. School construction be completed by May 2020 but resulted in the closure The project expanded which has around 9,000 Verona – will keep part of of the detours people could employees on its western the road between Verona The western side of Vero- prior to staff moving into use to avoid both Hwy. M the highway from a counthe school in July. and Oregon closed for six na isn’t getting forgotten. try road with single lanes Verona campus. West Verona Avenue, and Verona Road construcThe total cost of the M weeks for repaving. Nine public improvegoing each way to a fourThe first part, which ment projects are planned Nine Mound Road and West tion and still get to Madilane divided urban road project, all the way up to the son. with sidewalks and curbs. It Mineral Point interchange, started last week, involves near the new Verona Area End Circle will be open also includes an underpass is near $100 million, with repaving the stretch of road High School before the start throughout construction. Email reporter Kimberat the intersection of Hwys. the city of Verona paying between Fish Hatchery of the 2020 school year, Verona Road ly Wethal at kimberly. $8.5 million for its part and Hwy MM just north of including street widening, M and PD to alleviate firstname.lastname@example.org and sidewalk additions and the The 7 year Verona Road follow her on Twitter @ construction of Wildcat project has still changed kimberly_wethal.
Message from the town chair
Town continuing to get things done
his is my fourth year reporting on the Town of Verona, and as I review what we’ve accomplished in the last several years, I’m amazed and thankful. Since 2015, we have built a new Town Hall, established a boundary agreement with the City of Verona, adopted a comprehensive plan, adopted a Geller vision and guiding principles for our operations and approved four new
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neighborhoods. We did all this while continuing to provide excellent day-today service and remaining debt free. Longtime, dedicated residents continue to guide the town, and new residents are becoming more involved. Our Town Hall is becoming a community center where we host informational meetings and family gatherings. Of the 79 new residential lots that have been created, 20 now have new homes on them and another 21 have been sold. This shows that people want to be part of the Town of Verona. More recently, we have
increased our road budget, and hired a part-time engineer to manage our public works efforts. We continue to struggle with funding, changing demographics and the impacts of surrounding development; but a new ad hoc committee has been formed to help us balance those issues. As I round out my fifth year as town chair, I feel we’ve accomplished so much, and we’re still on our way to getting more good things done. Mark Geller is the chair of the Town of Verona Board of Supervisors.
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September 26, 2019
Sugar Creek Commons
Truck stop torn down, but project still on hold
Whispering Coves moves closer to approval
JIM FEROLIE Verona Press editor
JIM FEROLIE Verona Press editor
File photo by Kimberly Wethal
Demolition and other preparatory work began on the Sugar Creek Commons site on West Verona Avenue in June. The site formerly held a truck stop, a car repair shop and a car wash. financing district for the project – with up to $5.4 million set aside for it – in September 2017. But as Henshue noted, the Common Council has a vastly different makeup since then, having turned over all but two alders, plus the mayor and the city administrator. That’s meant new questions and additional information, as well as persuading a somewhat less TIF-friendly group of the value of the project.
“Everything was modeled and approved under a previous administration,” he said. “The challenge is the TIF side of the transaction.” In June and July, the city held closed sessions to discuss the project, asking for more information, while FDG put its contractors on pause. City staff have sent FDG a proposal, and Henshue said he expects the council to discuss the TIF proposal Sept. 30, with an agreement possible as
early as October. In June, Henshue told the Press the company authorized demolition, site exploration and initial design-related work in anticipation of the developer agreement being ready soon. He said then that some soil remediation would likely be necessary, but it wasn’t worse than expected, partly because the underground parking for the hotel only goes 14 feet deep and the site is closed to 20 feet.
A plan to build a 200-acre subdivision on the city’s north side cleared some hurdles this year but still awaits the city’s approval. Forward Development Group representative Ron Henshue told the Press this month the company looks to submit its final plan for the development Oct. 4. The unconventional setup, with winding roads and “linear parks” along a system of trails, has gotten a warm reception, but some of the complications resulting from it have not. Whispering Coves would be located southwest of the County Hwys. M and PD intersection. Development there has been discussed by alders for more than a decade, and the expansion of that intersection is likely to ripen the market for the area. What essentially was the sixth version of the plan went to the city in July, and alders balked at some of the planned “pocket parks,” within cul-de-sacs, a limited central park, access to County Hwy. M and the stormwater management plan. Henshue said the pocket parks have been eliminated, the central park has been increased and a deal to improve access to M has been worked out. Henshue called the stormwater management plan the most difficult part of the process, partly because the record rains last August and the resulting wetness all over the county have made planners and politicians more concerned about stormwater. If the most recent plan passes muster
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A multimillion dollar plan to redevelop the 500 block of West Verona Avenue made progress in 2019, but has yet to begin construction. Demolition crews took down the old truckstop – known for years as Chinmi – along with the former Avenue Auto and Badger Car Wash buildings over the summer. And the city approved plans for 284 apartments, 26,000 square feet of retail and a 110-room hotel in two separate pieces last fall and this spring. Forward Development Group representative Ron Henshue told the Press this month his company has every approval needed from the city and state, except one – the developer agreement, which includes a multimillion-dollar taxpayer financing request. The money and conditions for providing it have been a sticking point since FDG introduced the project in February 2017. The expense of tearing down existing buildings and potential environmental remediation where the gasoline tanks were has made tax-increment financing there an expectation for as long as city leaders have craved idea of getting rid of the long-abandoned truck stop. As a result, the city quickly created a tax-increment
September 26, 2019
Epic growth focuses on improving access to records KIMBERLY WETHAL Unified Newspaper Group
Compared to years past, Epic hasn’t done a lot of physical growing this year. It’s working on the last of its Storybook Campus buildings, the Jules Verne building, which is atop the campus’ underground parking garage. Jules Verne is scheduled for completion in summer 2020 after being started in March 2019, and for the first time in many years, no other office buildings are approved and ready to go. Instead, the largest private employer in Dane County is attempting to g r ow a c c e s s t o h e a l t h records across the world. The company is hoping it’ll save a life, or thousands. O n e o f E p i c ’s m a i n focuses for software, shown at this year’s User Group Meeting in the last week of August, is to take patient data and make it available so patients can provide a doctor with their medical records and track health trends within a certain area to help doctors be one step ahead of disease. It all ties in to making doctors more efficient and have science-based research to use, rather than just the knowledge they have, or the pool of experience in their hospital. Engineers are making
Photo by Jim Ferolie
Epic has begun construction on its final approved building, Jules Verne, which sits atop its Storybook Campus parking lot. upgrades to Epic’s MyChart software – which is used in all the major hospital systems in the county – to create consistent experiences between the desktop interface and the mobile app. Epic is also working to
make its information more accessible – both providing medical information with facilities that might not use Epic and allowing patients to invite family members to view their records. Further down the road
is an initiative to allow its software to listen in on a conversation between a doctor and a patient and generate a doctor’s note using artificial intelligence, something the company hopes allows doctors
to spend more time with patients. Other initiatives the company is working on are allowing patients to see their out-of-pocket costs when entering their insurance information on their
healthcare provider’s website, notifying patients when a nurse is on the way and allowing nurses to remotely go through appointment checklists.
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September 26, 2019
Park: Parents eagerly awaited the completion of the splash pad, beach upgrades Continued from page 2 for the season. Subzero temperatures and heavy snowfall halted it in late January and early February, but that didn’t delay the project, Walker said, as the crews took advantage of warmer weather in the fall months to get ahead. A set spring did, moving the opening back two days and confusing some potential visitors, as construction equipment was still present early on. As the opening day neared, a wet spring had made it tough to lay concrete, as the ground rarely got a good chance to dry enough for construction. But the delays didn’t keep people away for long, and they just made them anticipate the opening more, one Verona resident told the Press in late June, as her daughter ran around the splash pad with a friend. “We’ve been watching for it to open,” Jill Radke said. The splash pad addition has a nature theme, with butterfly water sprayers, tall flowers that trickle water down and a large bucket that fills up with water and dumps down onto eager children who wait for the bucket to pour its contents on them. A smaller splash pad sits adjacent, meant for younger children. The playground is installed directly next to the larger splash pad, a feature one parent said is nice because children can go back and forth between the playground and splash pad as they please. The beach was revamped with the addition of shade umbrellas, a raised tanning and relaxation area off of the sand and a ramp for accessibility. The shelter was upgraded to have an open-air pavilion next to the concession stand.
The project was still under construction even as the park opened for public use, with some landscaping left to be finished and the basketball court and soccer field remaining, as well as a path that connects to the bike and pedestrian paths on County Hwy. M that were completed the summer prior. But the park upgrades were well received and the recreation and parks departments heard feedback from patrons that was overwhelmingly positive, Dudley said. “People loved the improvements,” he said.
“(The) improvements were well worth it and great for the community.” Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at kimberly. email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @ kimberly_wethal. Above, the playground at Fireman’s Park was installed in June. Right, the shelter at Fireman’s park has interior work done on Tuesday, June 11. File photo by Kimberly Wethal
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there, I’d be happy to hear it. Rectangular rapid flashing beacons were installed quickly at the intersection of Main Street and Llanos Street providing enhanced safety for people crossing Main Street. The construction of Well 6 north of Liberty Business Park began construction earlier this spring to better serve the business and technology parks in that area. The land acquisition along Range Trail for the future public works facility was completed in late 2018. The city has added an Economic Development webpage with links to community statistics, business development resources, and an interactive map of available commercial and industrial properties. Commercial and industrial property owners, realtors, and brokers are encouraged to contact city staff with listing information if they choose to be a part of this program.
The City of Verona continues to provide many quality services, including street maintenance and plowing, park development and maintenance, senior services, building inspections, planning, public safety, parks and recreation and library services. Verona also continues to invest in public facilities and infrastructure. I will continue to promote those efforts by encouraging responsible development and less borrowing. As mayor, I remain committed to fiscally and environmentally sustainable practices. Verona has several exciting opportunities ahead, especially relating to improving the sustainability of the city as a whole. I encourage anyone with comments, suggestions, or questions about Verona to contact me (Luke. Diaz@ci.verona.wi.us), members of the Common Council or city staff. Luke Diaz is the mayor of Verona.
September 26, 2019
New attendance boundaries set for 20-21 SCOTT GIRARD Unified Newspaper Group
The past year brought some significant changes for Verona Area School District families – even though they won’t be in effect for another year. The school board approved new attendance area boundaries in July, nine months after the Attendance Area Advisory Committee held its first meeting to review options from consultant Mark Roffers. Of the district’s 61 neighborhoods broken out by Roffers, 15 will change elementary attendance areas in the next year, though the 76 incoming fifth graders will have the option to remain. That means a little more than 20% of the district’s non-charter and non-Two Way Immersion students will change schools. The largest of the neighborhoods include Scenic Ridge on the city’s south side, which will now attend Sugar Creek Elementary School. That neighborhood, along with Cathedral Point across Locust Drive, could be directed to a new elementary school if and when it is built in the coming years, as attendance projections indicate will be necessary. The district already owns land near those neighborhoods, but would need to go to referendum to build a school. The committee narrowed
Option E5 was the attendance area boundary option chosen by the school board in July. its options over its 10 meetings from October 2018 to April 2019, sending three to the board for consideration. The board eventually chose its favorite and had Roffers
make some adjustments who would change schools move. The new middle only applying to incoming before settling on its final to have the option to stay school boundaries will be sixth graders in the 2020-21 option. at their current school or phased in over three years, school year. Two months later, the board decided to allow next year’s fifth graders
Building: Personalized Learning efforts continue at VASD on new software platform Continued from page 3 learning progression to support teacher practices in the classroom as our focus remains on academic goal setting, creating learner profiles, continual teacher professional development (on-going since 2013), unveiling a new software platform to support the work of student PLPs and finally…engaging with families during this process. You can find the most
Map courtesy Verona Area School District
up-to-date information on entire staff and communiour website at verona.k12. ty. Working together with wi.us/PersonalizedLearning. families and the community, we can make this the best school district in Contact us Wisconsin and achieve our These are four of the many mission. We look forward to this exciting activities going on in our district. I invite you to school year and we thank you for continuing to make visit our website and follow learning the most importus on Facebook and Twitter ant endeavor for all of our to learn more. The Verona Area School children. District is an outstanding D e a n G o r re l l i s t h e school district because superintendent of the Veroof the commitment, hard na Area School District. He work and sacrifice of the
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September 26, 2019
Baby: Market continues to be tight for parents, families looking for daycare options Continued from page 5 it’s really kind of taken off.” The parent of a young child, Sayre said when he and his wife were looking around for a daycare, there weren’t many spots available. “Every place you kind of call, it seems a little bit tighter, just trying to find what needs you have as a family or the type of care you need,” he said. “It’s a pretty high demand. I think people are finding it, but obviously a couple years ago, it was different.” The latest to open was Big Apple Early Learning Academy, 200 Keenan Court, in October 2018. Co-owners Kassie and husband Steve Gorski started with 20 kids in two classrooms, and they now have 55 in seven rooms. The center has a capacity of 130 children, and the Gorskis and city officials are talking about getting that license number “a bit higher,” Sayre said. Less than a year in, the “new” daycare has just two more classrooms left, facing what Kassie Gorski said is a “definite, continued need for the community,” particularly for the youngest kids. “We have found a big need for care for children under the age of 2,” she wrote the Press in an email. “We currently have a waitlist.” The Goddard School of Verona, 102 Prairie Oaks Dr., built in 2016, was only around six months old when owner Mawara Sohail and her husband realized they needed to start thinking
Photo by Kimberly Wethal
Kids play with blocks on a light up table in the motor activity room at Big Apple Early Learning Academy. about expanding. Immediately. “We started to get full in no time,” Sohali told the Press last week. Even after adding four new
classrooms in December 2017, including a new infant and 1 year old area, the rooms quickly filled up. Today, all 13 of the school’s c l a s s r o o m s a r e fi l l e d , w i t h
waiting lists for all age groups, she said, with infant care being the longest. “There’s a huge demand – 40 to 50 percent come here for
infant care,” Sohali said, noting one familiar group particular. “We have seen a lot of Epic families recently who come to tour our school.”
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September 26, 2019
Lincoln Street Apartments An apartment complex is being constructed on Lincoln Street adjacent to the Military Ridge State Trail. The building, a three-story, 90-unit apartment complex, was started earlier this year and is anticipated to be rented out in the spring of 2020. Photo by Jim Ferolie
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September 26, 2019
Chamber: Adding new community events
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Verona this past year, many other new and existing businesses also continue to thrive in our city. In recent years, the VACC has also strongly focused on improving the business climate by finding ways to add events in or near area businesses and providing business sponsorship opportunities at new family friendly events. As a result, our members and their potential customers are finding new ways to meet each other. Of course, Hometown Days continues to serve as the centerpiece of “how we get together and have fun in Verona.” And every year, we continue to enjoy Hometown Holidays, featuring Santa Claus and the five-alarm chili supper prepared by our Verona Fire Department. Santa’s reindeer will be a new chamber presentation the following week this year. T h e s e g r e a t b o o ke n d events are now joined by more recent very successful
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take great pride in the fact that we are an Ice Age Trail Community. Entertainment abounds. You can catch great local and regional talent at places like Wisconsin Brewing, Fisher King Winery, Hop Haus and Tuvalu. Local talent is on display at Verona Area Community Theater, and you can catch big name acts presented by the Verona Area Performing Arts Series (if you get our tickets early enough). Our library programs are outstanding. They feature a wide range of subjects, both interesting and informative. And it’s in just the perfect peaceful and Wright setting. Anyone who needs addit i o n a l ev i d e n c e o f o u r community’s vibrancy and bright future needs only drive by the site Verona’s new high school. We are blessed.
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chamber productions, including a hugely successful Fall Fest and a Halloween trick or treat night that Main Street merchants and area families rave about. Both will be back, bigger and better than ever. A themed Spring Event will return for a second year in 2020. Last year, we were nearly overwhelmed at Harriet Park by the kids who showed up for our E g g - S t r a va g a n z a ! T h e Chamber has also happily assumed responsibility for putting on each summer’s Concerts in the Park Recreation is big and getting bigger here, as Verona continues to be a sports hub. We are an important loop in the Ironman competition; host the National Short Track Speed Skating Championships and the AmFam Senior PGA Champions Tournament. Numerous baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey and bow hunting tournaments and games keep us active throughout the year. And of course, we can
September 26, 2019
Business name: Bellarina LLC Address: 118 N. Franklin St. Principal owner: Jana Hesch Opening date: Oct. 1, 2018 Employees: 1 Verona connection: I started my career as a hairstylist in Verona 16 years ago, moved to Madison 12 years ago. So happy to be back to this wonderful community! Business focus: Hair salon. Haircuts, color, highlights, facial waxing. What’s special about your business? My private space allows me to give 100% of my attention to my clients. I always strive to give my clients the best service possible so they feel great about how they look.
UW Credit Union - Verona Branch Address: 651 Hometown Circle Hours: Lobby, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday; drive-up, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday Principal leader: Brandon Day Phone: 232-5000 Opening date: July 15, 2019 Employees: We employ 11 people, including two teller interns through the Young Apprenticeship Program at Verona High School, in which students receive high school credits along with wages. Charity connections/plans: Badger Prairie Needs Network Verona connection: As a community partner, we have a vision of helping people, serving the community, building partnerships and making a difference in Verona. As a financial leader, we know we can help our new members achieve their financial dreams. From high schoolers to empty nesters, we lend a hand to improve your life at every step of your life’s journey. Business focus: UW Credit Union is a federally insured, member-owned, not-for-profit financial institution committed to the financial well-being of our members. We offer all the services of most major banks, plus more. For nearly a century, we’ve been guided by a simple but powerful mission – your best interest always comes first. What’s special about your business? People over profits. We help our members access the financial products and services they need to improve their lives. We take account deposits from members who are in a position to save and loan money to other members needing affordable credit. With no stockholders, we can use potential profits to maintain fair interest rates and keep account fees low.
n+1 coffee and beer cafe Address: 507 Bruce St. Principal owners: Jessica Laufenberg and Peter Oyen Opening date: January 2019 (inside Rocket Bicycle Studio) Employees: 2 full, 4 part time Verona connection: Jessica started SBR Coaching in 2005 in Verona, added Rocket Bicycle Studio in 2009 (with Peter Oyen) in same building as SBR. Brought on business partner to SBR in 2016 (Bill Martin). Relocated both businesses in August 2018 from Venture Ct. Longtime Verona business resident, new addition of the cafe in Jan 2019. Business focus: Third place with coffee, beer and camaraderie. What’s special about your business? n+1 is the final piece in a vision for a third place. We have always envisioned a bike shop with space to fuel up on coffee or cap off a great bike ride with a beer. Or maybe you’re just looking for a new place to hang out with your friends. We want everyone in the community and all those who travel from afar, to feel at home in our space at n+1. Enjoy a cool and hip experience while you sip a perfectly made cup of coffee or one of our rotating tap beers. If time is of the essence swing in and take something from our grab-and-go area.
Address: 103 South Main St Phone: 640-7470 Opening date: August 2019 Business focus: Located in downtown Verona, we are an ice cream, shave ice and coffee house. We proudly serve Chocolate Shoppe ice cream and JBC Coffee Roaster coffee.
Big Apple Early Learning Academy Address: 200 Keenan Court Principal owners: Kassie and Steven Gorski Opening date: Nov. 5, 2018 Employees: 13 Verona connection: To be able to provide affordable quality childcare to Verona and surrounding communities. Business focus: Childcare for children 6 weeks to 12 years. What’s special about your business? We strive to create a home away from home learning environment for all children and their families.
Chiropractic Now Address: 600 W. Verona Ave. Ste. 1a Phone: 845-5565 Principal owner: Jared Radermacher Opening date: July 2019 Business focus: I became a chiropractor to teach and provide a health service to the community I live in. So many people could benefit from chiropractic care and they don’t know it. 75% of people haven’t even been to a chiropractor. I want to change that. Natural healing through chiropractic care over more invasive drugs or surgery. What’s special about your business? One chiropractor does not fit all. If you’ve had negative experiences in the past or haven’t seen the results you’ve wanted, that doesn’t mean that chiropractic won’t work for you. Chiropractic Now focuses on the problem behind the pain. We use a combination of custom therapies including adjustments, traction, exercises and stretches to allow your spine to get back to as near normal as possible.
Treehouse Programs Address: 201 E. Verona Ave. Principal owner: Allison Plumer Opening date: June 17, 2019 Number of employees: 5 Charity connections/plans: There are a lot of kids who spend most of their school breaks home alone. We hope to establish a program in the next year that would give scholarships and discounts to families for school break activities. Verona connection: Verona is home. My kids are at Sugar Creek in 2nd and 4th grade and we love the small community feel and proximity to Madison that Verona offers. It is a wonderful place to have a family! Business focus: Treehouse offers Camps and Clubs for kids preschool through fifth grade, including morning clubs for preschoolers, after school clubs for K-5th and camps during school breaks. We have a variety of fun drop-in programs with themes ranging from travel to cooking, theater, movies and more! We also do private rentals of our facility. What’s special about your business? With the range of programming we offer, we are lucky enough to see a big percentage of families in the community! If we haven’t met yet, we hope to meet you soon!
Wisco Green CBD and Hemp boutique Address: 602 W. Verona Ave. Principal owner: John Schoville and Jodi Lawson-Futch Opening date: April 20, 2019 Business focus: Wisco Green CBD and Hemp Boutique is a locally owned and family operated retail store that specializes in a wide variety of CBD and hemp based products such as oils, coffee and tea, edibles, lotions, vape, pet products, bath bombs and more.
16 Verona Progress - September 26, 2019
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2019 Verona Progress