Fitchburg mayor wants city to promote businesses during Verona R - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fitchburg mayor wants city to promote businesses during Verona Road construction

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FITCHBURG (WKOW) – Construction on Verona Road began last year is slated to go until 2019.

The construction is currently centered around the road's intersection with the Beltline in the City of Madison. But in 2017, construction is expected to begin around Verona Road's intersection with McKee Road in the City of Fitchburg.

That has businesses owners in the vicinity a bit anxious.

“We just want people to know the businesses are open,” said Dierdre Garton, who owns Quivey's Grove Restaurant.

Garton said business owners in the Verona Road corridor have been meeting regularly to discuss maintaining visibility during the construction.

Mayor Shawn Pfaff said many business owners are concerned drivers will avoid Verona Road due to reports of construction and traffic delays.

“Businesses in this area rely on that high-volume traffic daily,” Pfaff said. “Commuters stop in. We don't want those commuters changing their routines too much because of the construction.”

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation runs a program called “In It Together” which encourages businesses, the DOT and local governments to plan ahead to maintain visibility and customer base during construction projects.

Pfaff is proposing Fitchburg establish an In It Together program of its own. He's called for the city to include $25-thousand in its capital improvement budget this year to help businesses purchase additional signage and organize a marketing campaign to communicate to prospective customers that they remain open during construction.

Such a campaign would also include helping Fitchburg's businesses promote alternate routes to their locations during the construction.

Pfaff said he is hoping the business community will match the city's contributions, which as proposed would total $130-thousand through the end of the construction in 2019.

The plan calls for $25-thousand each year and an additional $5-thousand, $30-thousand total, in 2017 when the construction around McKee Road begins.

The proposal still has to clear the city council as part of the capital improvement budget process.

“We can never be proactive enough in these situations,” Pfaff said.

Garton said businesses in the area are excited.

“Anything we can do to make it easier for customers to find us is great,” she said.

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