The University of Wisconsin-Madison has selected the Village of Egg Harbor as one of seven communities with which to collaborate on planning infrastructure projects.
Village Administrator Ryan Heise said UniverCity Year (UCY) will assist in fact finding, data gathering, brainstorming and public engagement for its highway streetscape planning and a potential recreational trail between the village center and Horseshoe Bay Farms in the Town of Egg Harbor.
“Typically, consultants are engaged to facilitate the process of scope development, especially for smaller communities that lack the in-house resources to dedicate to the process,” Heise said. “We envision that UniverCity Year will be able to assist the village in exploring and developing projects that will lay the foundation for taking concept to design.”
Launched in 2016 with the Wisconsin Idea in mind – the idea that the boundaries of the university should be the boundaries of the state and beyond – the three-year UCY program facilitates engagement between the UW-Madison learning community and localities, ultimately bringing faculty, students and community members together to address some of the greatest challenges facing local governments.
Although UniverCity Year will administer the program and provide resources for faculty and community members, the three-year partnership relies on the community to determine which challenges should be addressed and which projects would have the greatest impact.
Heise said the village will lean on UCY to focus on the streetscape portion of planning for highway reconstruction in 2023. “They’ll have a focus on tree selection, species and spatial analysis,” Heise said. “They’ll also look at public art that meets Department of Transportation regulations.”
For the recreational trail, UniverCity Year will focus on mapping, stakeholder engagement and economic impact. The village will contribute $30,000 over three years to take part in the program, but it will likely save significant planning and consultants’ fees.
UCY staff match each project to interested faculty members who then incorporate it into their coursework or research. Upon completion, students and faculty will present their recommendations to the village for consideration. UniverCity Year staff will then continue to aid the local government in evaluating the feasibility of student research, implementing projects and reporting on outcomes.
UCY operates with support from American Family Insurance, UW-Madison’s Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, COWS, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and alumnus John Holton.