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Input: City needs attractive entrances
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MONROE - More attractive entrance corridors to the city were among ideas generated as part of a community input meeting on land use in Monroe.

Wednesday's forum was the second of two on land use and the final community input meeting facilitated by the Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Previous topics have centered on housing, transportation, recreation, the arts and utilities. The SWWRPC will use input gleaned from these meetings, including goals and action items to reach them, as it develops an updated comprehensive plan for the community.

The subject of land use brought together ideas presented in earlier meetings on other topics. Among the main concerns are more housing that will appeal to younger professionals working in Monroe and better transportation routes to and through the city.

Zoning is also a top priority. At last week's meeting, city administrator Phil Rath said the city would like to update its zoning map. Doing so could address some of the patchwork zoning and spur more development in the city, the group said.

"It's apparent that the city has gone back and amended zoning to suit a specific project," said Mike Johnson, director of the Green County Economic Corporation. That approach takes longer and could turn developers away, he said.

Having an updated land use map to address broad ideas of what the city should look like, with a zoning map that follows with more specific requirements, could help attract desirable development to the city.

"I need a plan to be competitive" in bringing new business, he said.

To that end, the group of about a dozen considered more specific ideas on what they would like to see in the comprehensive plan. Among the ideas shared were:

• Straighten the main corridor entrance to downtown from the north.

• Make the corridors from the west and north to downtown more attractive, such as adding landscaping.

• Push for a four-lane highway.

• Install more athletic fields at Twining Park.

• Investigate putting more athletic fields on the southside of the fairgrounds, which is largely unused.

• Add a splash pad, perhaps at Spring Square parking lot one block south of the Square.

• Find a community use for two city-owned lots south of the middle school.

• Provide a sidewalk to the Aging and Disability Resource Center located at the Pleasant View complex.

• Use the areas just north of the city on Wisconsin 69 for commercial mixed use or industrial development.

• Use the area around the Ludlow Mansion in commercial mixed use development.

• Develop more mixed use areas near the downtown area.

• Allow dogs at Honey Creek Park.

• Infill residential areas on the far west side of the city.

• Investigate moving the Historic Cheesemaking Center closer to other cultural centers downtown.

• Place walking tour signs throughout downtown.

SWWRPC will be conducting community surveys around town to gather more information from residents as its staff begin drafting the community plan.