Monday, July 26, 2010

Monona Plan Commission Pares Back Entry Project

The Monona Plan Commission reduced the estimated cost for a proposed entryway feature on Monona Drive at the Beltline to just slightly over $160,000 tonight (i.e. the original budget amount). The Commission eliminated the water projection lights, reduced the length of the west entry wall from 140' to 110', reduced the length of east entryway wall from 100' to 60', reduced the sign walls from two to one and a half (there will be a sign wall on each side, but they will be asymmetrical), and they reduced the plantings budget to $26,500. The LED stripe lighting was retained.

Designer Ken Saiki requested and the Plan Commission agreed that he be allowed to put together the reduced design to show the Plan Commission at their first meeting in August. Given that it is almost the end of July, it seems likely that construction will not occur until 2011.

The Plan Commission had a good discussion. Ms. Devenish strongly argued that the project should be brought in at the original budget and that the major elements could be retained at that cost. Mr. Dorschel sounded the strongest note against reducing the project. He characterized the reduced version as the 'bare minimum'. No other member expressed that viewpoint (although no one explicitly disagreed with it either).

I had frankly expected more resistance from the Plan Commission to the council's budget-reducing mood. Based on the discussion, however, it looks like a strong entryway feature can be created for the original budget. Caveat: Until Ken Saiki revises the plans it is difficult to know the full impact of the reductions.

For more background see my prior post on tonight's meeting here and on the council's initial reaction here.

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