Last night, I had the opportunity to testify in front of the Iowa County Transportation Committee at their monthly meeting in Dodgeville, WI. The concern from the community was so poignant that the Committee had to change locations to accommodate a larger audience. Even after moving down the street to a larger auditorium, space was at a premium with over 100 folks from all over the region packing the meeting to show their resolve against this proposed ordinance, and testify as to why this would negatively impact their business or event. Testimony lasted for over thirty-five minutes which is uncommon for this type of committee in this region, and did not include a single testimonial for the proposed ordinance. I was pleased to see such a diverse group of community stakeholders on hand to share their perspective and remind the committee that this ordinance would have a lasting negative impact, not just on bicycling in Iowa County, but also on the local economy. Folks from the Iowa County Economic Corporation and Dodgeville Chamber of Commerce, along with local business owners like Jeff “Potsie” Weber, who manages the Dodgeville Piggly Wiggly grocery store echoed concern that this ordinance would result in economic hardship for businesses in the region. Alongside small business owners, local motorcycle clubs, and avid cyclists from cross the region – the committee heard a resounding message – do not pass this ordinance.
Video of the meeting, via WMTV15:
Motorcycle and bicycle ride organizers made it clear that this ordinance would either force them to move their rides elsewhere, or continue to produce them but limit their impact on the community, and this contribution is immense. Just one of the many rides that pass through Iowa County, the Dairyland Dare, has raised over $100,000 for organizations in Iowa County.
The committee, after hearing all of this compelling testimony and noting for the record that they had received over 250 emails from concerned constituents – spent a significant amount of time discussing how to move forward with the proposed ordinance. Much to our delight, Curt Peterson, Iowa County Supervisor, made the motion to send the ordinance to a sub-committee that would include community stakeholders, as well as elected officials with the hopes of addressing concerns and producing a better ordinance.