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Community Team


Samuel Thompson, Jeffrey L. Bruce and Company

Landscape Architects

Eric Doll, Jeffrey L. Bruce and Company

David Stokes, Jeffrey L. Bruce and Company

Steering Committee

Dan Canton

Barb Collins

Micah Decker

Connie Halvorson

Rogeta Halvorson

Jim Langhus

Pam Malanaphy

Pat Malanaphy

Gary Passmore

Fran Passmore

Craig Schmidt

Kerrill Schmidt

Shirley Seitz

Anjela Waterman

Trees Forever Facilitator

Emily Swihart

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Community Report

Monona (population 1,549) is located on Highway 52/18 in northeast Iowa. Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, is 16 miles east along Highway 18. The community is growing, with a new development along the southwestern limits of Monona designated for industrial and residential development and a second residential development and two proposed roads northeast of town.

One notable project that enhanced the natural environment was the installation of a permeable-paver parking lot next to Turkey River watershed. Monona is the highest point in the county at more than 1,200 feet above sea level and is situated atop the Turkey River, Bloody Run, and Yellow River watersheds, so environmental conservation has always been important. Monona participated in the Visioning Program in 2007 and has completed most of the projects proposed, perhaps the most visible project being the landscaping at Gateway Park.

Planning and Design Summary

The focus-group analysis confirmed several of the steering committee’s goals, such as increasing downtown lighting and accessibility, improving connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists, and enhancing community parks. The committee also wants to continue making strides in terms of the environment. The concept plan addresses the committee’s goals with the following proposals:

  • Community Trail System – Develop a four-mile perimeter trail using a combination of separate trails, bike lanes, and shared roadways.
  • City Parks – Connect to the other parks and the Garden View Trail, create trails, and add native vegetation and trees.
  • Signage – Update destination park signage.
  • Sidewalks – Implement a comprehensive sidewalk plan to improve connectivity.
  • Downtown – Install additional lighting and curbed bump-outs with native vegetation and street trees to make the area more pedestrian friendly as well as manage stormwater runoff.

Assessment Highlights

Transportation Barriers

Access to a continuous network of sidewalks and trails is impeded by inconsistent maintenance and gaps in the system. The downtown in particular is perceived to be too dark at night. Participants identified several places where visibility is poor and turning is difficult, as well as busy intersections that are not easy to cross. Strong winds are a fact of life in Monona, causing snow drifts that can block passage and visibility on streets and sidewalks.

Transportation Assets and Destinations

The Butterfly Garden is an iconic symbol of Monona’s public parks, other popular parks are Gateway Park, Garden View Park, and City Park. Mononans value peaceful, natural areas close to home. Downtown Monona is the core identity of Monona, but suffers from a sense of isolation and few plantings.