CUBA CITY, Wis. — Cuba City leaders are nearly finished drafting a plan that will guide their decisions regarding land use and capital investments for the next 20 years.
A new comprehensive plan examines the city’s assets and challenges and establishes action items with respect to six subjects: community living; economic development; government and city services; housing; land use and natural resources; and transportation.
“The city has a good history of listening to the public and getting things done,” said city Economic Development Director Bob Jones. “Despite the pandemic … I feel confident we can get these things accomplished.”
Common Council members are expected to review and vote whether to accept the plan on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
The plan, assembled by Madison firm Redevelopment Resources, was developed over the course of about one year with significant public input.
For a community of just 2,100 residents, Cuba City possesses amenities often not found in municipalities of its size — including a grocery store, dentist office and banks — putting it in a unique position, said Marisa Mutty, a company lead planner and development associate.
“Just because it’s not broken doesn’t mean we can’t continue to improve,” she said.
While nearly all participants who were surveyed wish to see the city grow by at least 500 residents, the largest impediment is a lack of residential and commercial structures and the financing on the part of developers to make new construction feasible.
Nearly two-thirds of surveyed residents believe that the city should invest in more housing stock, which could occur on empty property on Cuba City’s west side.
To those ends, the plan calls for city incentives for developers and the recruitment of new businesses that provide social opportunities for teens and visitors.
Although the downtown lacks open commercial space, there is room for creativity, such as shared retail use of existing spaces or pop-up stores, Mutty said.
Not only would this improve community satisfaction with the city, but it also would buttress the workforce by attracting younger residents.
Other matters concerned public safety. The plan drew attention to a need for an expansion for the city’s fire station and the creation of a flood-mitigation plan.
The community desire for outdoor recreation and increased walkability also was emphasized.
Those goals could be satisfied with simple modifications such as the removal of parking spaces along Main Street and the installation of sidewalk benches in their stead.
Long-term projects such as the construction of a citywide walking path are already in the planning stages.
Jones said city leaders have solicited assistance from University of Wisconsin-Platteville students, who will develop a study and conceptual plan for the path this fall.
“A lot of comprehensive plans, people get frustrated … because it sits on a shelf,” Jones said. “I don’t think that is going to happen in Cuba City.”