Monona opens public survey about plans for former San Damiano Friary 

Monona city officials are inviting Dane County residents to take a survey about concept plans for the 10-acre property formerly known as the San Damiano Friary, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. 

Monona originally purchased the land for $8.6 million from St. Norbert Abbey of De Pere in 2021 and is still paying off the amount; city officials are now looking to develop the property with the goal of providing recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities in a financially sustainable public space. 

One concept, designed by MSA Professional Services of Madison, would keep the Frank Allis house built in 1893. The house would be converted into an event facility following extensive repairs. 

Another concept, which would remove the Allis house, features a new facility aligned to face the Capitol across the lake, as well as a nearby amphitheater. 

All concepts include nearly two acres of open-lawn event space, trails, paved walkways, natural areas, play areas a boater’s beach, a dock or fishing pier, a bus stop, and an area for traditional farming by the Ho-Chunk Nation. 

The final design will aim to incorporate elements of all three current plans using feedback from the survey and focus groups, including schools, businesses, nonprofits, accessibility advocates, and the Ho-Chunk nation. The plan is expected to be presented at a public meeting by late summer and refined further this fall. 

The survey regarding the concept plans is available online until May 22. Information about the concepts and survey will be available at a Biergarten event at the park from 5–8:30 p.m. Friday.