City of Sun Prairie Community Development Director Scott Kugler and City Economic Development Director Neil Stechschulte each provided news as part of their specific departments – both items that have already happened or are in the planning pipeline for 2016.
Among Kugler’s highlights:
• The city has 144 single family projects under development this year – the same as last year at the same time;
• The city’s population has increased to 31,810 – or 8.3 percent since 2010;
• Sun Prairie has 50 businesses that have either expanded, opened new facilities or are new to the community. “To me,” Kugler added, “that says a lot.”
Regarding upcoming projects, Kugler said the city Community Development Department (formerly planning) is in the process of developing Business Park Standards. He said the disbanding of the Sun Prairie Business Park restrictive covenants committee required a transition to a city ordinance to deal with design standards in the business park.
A recent ruling in the Reed vs. Town of Gilbert case means that there can’t be any regulation of content-based signs, which will require amending the city’s sign ordinance.
And, the city is aiming to bring back the downtown Façade Improvement Grants as part of Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District 8.
The grants offer matching funds up to a certain amount to provide funding for improving façades located with TIF 8 downtown.
To date, alders have placed $50,000 of TIF money in the 2016 city budget for the program.
The program ended in 2012 when funds ran out, but the program was widely used by downtown property owners to improve their building façades downtown – increasing the value of each property, helping to retire the TIF earlier.
Stechschulte began by trumpeting successes – including what many said was the successful hosting of Farm Technology Days at the Statz Bros. Inc. Farm in the Town of Sun Prairie, with partial sponsorship by the city.
Thousands visited the three-day event, which moves around the state to a different community each year.
The city’s recent ranking as #2 on the Livability.com index can only help the city’s positioning to attract more workers to the city, Stechschulte said, especially when considering Sun Prairie has the lowest unemployment rate in the state.
Another factor --besides low unemployment -- cited by Livability.com was the expansion of existing businesses, including Madison-Kipp and Thermal Spray Technologies which are located in the Sun Prairie Business Park.
Among Stechschulte’s upcoming items to watch for in 2016:
• Prairie Lakes Hotel – Stechschulte said a developer has made a “very unique” pitch to do a “high quality project” in Prairie Lakes.
The project could include a conference center, according to Stechschulte.
• Downtown brewpub – Wylde Brewing Company is in the process of securing investors and making an offer to construct a brewpub on land located south of Market Street Diner.
Stechschulte said the development has been in the discussion stage for a year, and more should be known in the next couple of months.
“This marketplace is really ripe for this,” Stechschulte said, referring to a brewpub in Sun Prairie.
• Salvatore’s Tomato Pies purchases building. Salvatore’s Tomato Pies has purchased the La Tolteca building (formerly Jerry’s and Romp’s Korner Inn) on the corner of King and Main in downtown Sun Prairie, with the idea of completely renovating it.
“We’re excited about that one,” Stechschulte said, adding there may be some opportunities for outdoor dining as well when everything is complete.
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For questions or additional information please contact the Community Development or Economic Development Departments at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 608-825-1107.