Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Matt Aro Announces Candidacy for Monona City Council

Here is Matt Aro's announcement of his candidacy for the Monona city council:

PDF link to press release available through Google Docs:


Matt Aro for the city of Monona City Council 2010, outlines priorities

Monona, Wisconsin

January 17, 2010

Matt Aro is a candidate for City Council in Monona. Matt and Melissa have two small children, and they have lived in Monona since July 2004. His mom also lives in Monona. An architect with extensive experience in design and development of residential and commercial buildings and places, Matt brings experience and an understanding of complex urban development and redevelopment issues. Matt is a small business owner with Aro Eberle Architects. In the past decade, Matt had significant roles in projects such as the new St. Mary's Hospital expansion, the Majestic Theater remodeling in downtown Madison, unique retail shops such as David Bacco Chocolats and Vom Fass, numerous restaurants, and the new Wildwood Clinic in Cottage Grove. Sushi Muramoto, a popular restaurant at Hilldale in Madison, won the top design award in the state of Wisconsin granted by the American Institute of Architects. Matt has committee experience serving as a member of the transit commission and board of review as an alternate.

What follows are some of the items Matt will prioritize as a council member:

Land-locked, but room for much growth and redevelopment:

I am for development, redevelopment, and growth within our land-locked borders. The revitalization and creation of commercial districts is critical to the success and financial future of our community. We need to aggressively focus on the Monona Drive and Broadway development to capitalize on the street improvements that have been done or are underway. Increasing the commercial base is also a key to lowering your property taxes. Creating a true city “center” should be looked at closely to enhance our identity as a community and further create a sense of place. Other than Monona Drive, and the lands adjacent, an opportunity would be to look at how the Library, Community Center and Pool area could be enhanced with small commercial or mixed-use infill development to build off the great elements already in place. The first step is planning and identifying where opportunities exist.

Attracting young people and families, keeping our great local schools:

We need to continue to attract young people to Monona, to fix up our housing stock and repopulate Maywood and Winnequah schools. K-8 in Monona can become a reality again without sacrificing opportunity if we can grow our local student population. Monona should make this a higher priority, marketing the appeal of our great parks and recreation, access to the lake, and good and relatively affordable housing stock. The future of Monona is tied to having great, local schools. Maintaining our parks and continuing to invest in new equipment and recreational programs is also a priority for me.

Enhancing our transit system:

I am for enhancing transit options and maintaining the system that works very well for our seniors and disabled, and improving the commuter service to serve more than just those who work downtown. With the creation and potential funding of an RTA (Regional Transit Authority), we will need advocates that will protect what works for Monona and seek opportunities to expand transit options for our residents where funding exists to support transit.

Sustainability: environmental and financial

As an architect, the systems and materials that I choose, and even the direction the building is oriented relative to the sun, have implications for the environment at large and the pocketbook of the building owners when the utility bills arrive. Sometimes the solution is clear: if you have to borrow a little more to get a more energy efficient building and the monthly savings in electricity, gas or water use is greater than the extra amount you pay on the loan, then you are keeping more money each month in the pocketbook and helping the environment at the same time. This applies to energy use in buildings, and can be applied to our city-owned structures as the need for remodeling arises.

Sustainability: environmental and financial- things we can do

Granted, some choices that are good for the environment can be costly that provide intangible benefits that are hard to measure, but most people agree are good things. One example is reducing storm water runoff into our lakes and rivers with engineered systems, which will improve the quality of our lakes so that someday we may be enticed to swim at our beaches again, furthering Monona as a desirable place to live. There are things we can do at our homes and businesses that do not have much cost to slow down storm water. Reducing our concrete and blacktop surfaces to the minimum needed as our drives and walks need to be replaced, creating rain gardens or low points to collect and slow down heavy rains, and using cisterns or rain barrels to collect roof water for gardening are some of the things we can choose to do. The city should support these common sense efforts.

Sustainability: environmental and financial- on streets and sidewalks

Where streets come due for reconstruction, it should be evaluated whether the width of streets can be reduced while still maintaining adequate on street parking and fire truck access. Perhaps by reducing the width of certain streets and the labor and material savings that results, we may be able to afford sidewalks where they do not exist now.

For more information, contact:

Matt Aro

110 Henuah Cir

Monona, WI 53716

608 220-2382



  1. Since there are significant educational and cost benefits to keeping middle school students in a larger group, why would Matt want to compromise our schools?

  2. Matt,

    Run, don't walk, away from school issues. That's what we have a school board for. If that is your interest, run for the school board. Otherwise stick to Monona council issues. Goodness knows there are plenty of those without getting into school board issues.

  3. Exactly my thought. K-8 in Monona is not in the best interests of our kids- who deserve to have a middle school experience with enough kids to make a bunch of activities possible- and it is clear that duplicating 2 middle schools has been studied! and is very expensive. I am a progressive voter for sure, but if he is a Monona only thinker on schools, I'm out.

  4. Now, that is just a silly comment. I went to a very small middle school, and I am absolutely fine. Gainfully employed, homeowner, happily married with a family.

    Matt's goal and desires for our community are laudible.

  5. K-8 in Mo is dead. I do not care to revist the issue. It was painful enough the first time.

    no voter