Progress Report from the San Damiano Steering Committee: City and Friends Target Early 2022 to Begin Community Engagement and Master Planning Process

Where we began

San Damiano was acquired in June, 2021 by the city of Monona. Since June, the property has seen thousands of visitors, hosted many groups, attracted admiration and attention from local bird groups, and was refreshed in a well-attended summer clean-up event.

What we’ve accomplished

In just six short months, many noteworthy accomplishments have been made. In June, a large community clean up event hosted over 175 volunteers who organized to transform the retaining rock wall, flower beds, and general grounds for the better.

The ten person San Damiano Steering Committee was formed in August, composed of representatives from both Friends of San Damiano and City of Monona respectively.

The mission of the Steering Committee is to engage the community in the development of a financially feasible master plan that conserves San Damiano as a public asset and to coordinate public/private efforts to fund the vision and lead the communication about its efforts to the community.

Where we plan to go

At their November meeting, the Steering Committee agreed on a timeline and process for developing the master plan. An RFP will be published during the first quarter of 2022 for professional services to execute both community engagement and conceptual planning. The goal is to hire the professional services needed in June, 2022.

The master planning process will take 12-18 months and begin with numerous opportunities for community and stakeholder input on the future vision for San Damiano. Next, multiple conceptual plans will be developed and tested for financial feasibility. Finally, additional community and stakeholder engagement will take place and the Steering Committee will recommend a plan to the City Council.

Target project timeline

  • Public Request for Services: March 2022
  • Hire consultant: June 2022
  • Launch community engagement process: June/July 2022
  • Community input and conceptual planning: July 2022 — September 2023
  • Recommend plan to City Council: December 2023

The City is currently working to complete an archaeological assessment of San Damiano and the condition of the house on the property. Both assessments will be integral in the master planning process. If the house is found to be structurally sound, the City plans to schedule open houses for residents in the spring. In the interim, residents are encouraged to visit the San Damiano grounds and experience its beauty in every season.

How can you help?

The purchase price for San Damiano was $8.6 million and the Mayor’s goal is to limit the city’s contribution to $4 million by working with the Friends of San Damiano and securing grants. To date, Dane County has granted the city $2 million to help offset the purchase price. A $249,000 grant has also been tentatively approved from the state’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund. Lastly, the Friends have raised over $230,000 in cash and pledged donations, much of which is earmarked for conservation of the property as a public asset.

The Friends of San Damiano’s immediate goal is fundraising to support community engagement and the master planning process. The Friends are seeking support from Foundations and individuals to launch the process. Your tax-deductible contribution will enable development of an outdoor recreational destination and experience second to none. Your financial contribution will help launch the process to engage the community in a plan for San Damiano that conserves its natural beauty, supports regional water and wildlife health, and ensures the property remains a vital public asset for generations.

The sooner the necessary funds are raised to create the San Damiano master plan, the sooner the CIty can begin the process to transform San Damiano into a dynamic, accessible, and family-friendly outdoor destination. Please reach out if you are interested in this extraordinary effort and signup to join the Friends of San Damiano email list for project updates, to learn about future events, and to ensure you are included in the future community engagement efforts.

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