Monona 2021 Year in Review | Monona / Cottage Grove Herald-Independent – HNGnews.com – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Monona Festival 9.jpg

Above: Hudson Bandemer, Allie Clark and Charlotte Bandemer ride the Tilt-A-Whirl at the Monona Community Festival carnival on Friday, July 2. The festival returned this year on July 2-4 at Winnequah Park, with a carnival, live music, concessions and food carts and a firework show. Left:

In Monona, 2021 was a year for continued recovery from COVID-19, a return to in-person schooling, ongoing conversations on racial equity, and growth in the city’s park and business offerings.

Students in the Monona Grove School District returned to in-person learning after nearly a year of virtual learning. A Madison-based charter school opened a Monona location.

Local leaders continued conversations on racial equity and diversity this year, hiring the city’s first openly gay and Black police chief, choosing to keep staffing police officers in the city’s schools and forming a long-awaited diversity, equity and inclusion committee.

Plans for several proposed housing projects emerged in the city, and the city weighed several options for construction on Winnequah Road. Monona took ownership of San Damiano, a former friary on Monona Drive. Below are the biggest headlines from 2021.

Monona Grove students meet for class earlier this year, wearing masks and sitting social distanced.

Jan. 7

Mayor Mary O’Connor and City Alder Kristie Goforth confirm they will face-off in this year’s spring mayoral election. Three Monona properties, including the Habitat for Humanity resale store on Monona Drive, enter the running for historical landmark designation. WPS installs two 71-inch COVID-19 masks on either side of its W. Broadway sign.

Jan. 14

Chris BonDurant enters the Monona Grove School Board race against incumbents Loreen Gage, Eric Hartz and Andrew McKinney. Three new candidates (Nadia Dominguez, Patrick DePula, Alexander Allon) and three incumbents (Doug Wood, Nancy Moore, Kathy Thomas) enter the race for three seats up for grabs on Monona city council. 208 Monona businesses receive federal COVID-19 relief grants from the state.

Jan. 21

Monona Grove School Board votes to send grades six to 12 back to in-person learning no later than March 15, after nearly one year of virtual learning due to COVID-19.

Jan. 28

Alexander Allon suspends his campaign for Monona City Council, leaving five to vye for three seats. Monona Grove High School applies for a $250k grant to help pay for solar panels on the roof of the school. City council approves a master renovation plan for Stone Bridge Park. Taylor Prairie Principal Connie Haessly announces her retirement, Emily Foster is chosen to assume the role.

Former Monona Public Library Youth Services Coordinator Karen Wendt does a virtual story time with a younger library patron.

Feb. 4

Monona Grove School District sees at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 after its first day of transitioning back to in-person learning. Monona alders discuss the prospect of hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics across the city.

Feb. 11

Monona police host a town hall on crime prevention following what some residents called


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