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Comprehensive plan calls for more rentals, bike lanes
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MONROE - The planning document to outline the future of Monroe, from housing to transportation and other needs outlined by residents, is nearing completion.

The Monroe Comprehensive Plan has been moving through a series of updates since January of last year. The Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission has gathered feedback from residents over numerous meetings over previous months and created a plan addressing needs identified by residents. Survey results led to project ideas and eventually to a plan for implementation.

Now nearing its finale, the plan has been placed on the city website and is available for review at city hall. SWWRPC organizers are soliciting input in order to finish the project plan. It was posted online Feb. 5 and comments will be taken for a least a month before the SWWRPC creates a final version. Once all opinions are gathered, the implementation committee will be put in place.

The Common Council is expected approve the final plan in March.

City administrator Phil Rath said the biggest concern in creating the comprehensive plan is that it could become a "placeholder on the shelf." The goal, which he thinks will be realized, is to take ideas and criticisms and construct progress to benefit the city.

"We're looking forward to putting it into practice," Rath said. "It's good to have a planning document. When you put together a plan like this, you want to try to get as much feedback as possible. That piece can really take on a life of its own."

There are six objectives to the plan, which looks forward to 2035. The active goals are to bring diverse people together with a vision for a shared future, develop methods to stay economically competitive, support new ideas, promote healthy living, give access to high-quality education and "make the City of Monroe the best place that it can be for our grandchildren."

The Monroe Comprehensive Plan itself focuses on six key areas: housing, transportation, parks and recreation, economic development and agriculture, culture and community resources and energy management. Residents' feedback fueled discussion of possible projects. Once the plans were outlined, they can be implemented through a committee of people within the community. Each of these topics has four aims toward a better community; health, education, government cooperation and youth retention and aging in place have been the central goal of plan ideas. All project ideas would be considered by the implementation committee made up of local residents.


With a focus on the aging population of Monroe while keeping in mind the young professionals who may contribute to local businesses for years, project ideas included a study to assess the condition of housing. Affordable, quality rentals should also be put in place with an overhaul to the zoning layout to accommodate for changes.


The plan outlines a need for more bike and pedestrian lanes in the city to promote healthier activities. Areas of sidewalk which abruptly end or are in rough shape should be assessed. There was also a request to provide bus service to Madison and Rockford as a way for people to travel more and to bring outside residents into the city. Improving road quality has been a main focus of discussion as well.

Parks and Recreation

A project request includes a dog park for unleashed dogs with possible locations spanning from the Green County Fairgrounds, the Green County Humane Society and existing parks. Increasing identification of bike routes is a proposed project and there is an aim to connect the Badger State Trail to the Cheese County Trail if possible.

Culture/Community Resources

Project ideas include a desire for an art fair, more readily available tourist information through either a physical location or online resources and accessible public restrooms. A point repeated in this subject was the need to create space for young professionals such as networking events. On the flip side, projects also focus on providing proper senior center staffing and mental health resources for elderly residents.

Economic Development and Agriculture

Business growth through succession planning, apprenticeships, internships, job fairs and wellness grant programs simultaneously benefit both business owners and possible employees. Projects include a pool of internship candidates, creating an industrial park, and an overhaul of zoning ordinances.

Energy Management

The goal to create more communication in times of emergency led to the proposed project of an automated messaging system. Another aim is to create more local energy, which was proposed through a compost program via the wastewater treatment plant. There is also a proposed project outlining a steady, staggered utility rate increase.