█ Getting to Know ... Monona
Unlike some of Madison’s other suburbs which put a short distance between themselves and the Capitol City, Monona is virtually surrounded by Madison. In fact, if you take a drive along the Beltline Highway, you’ll be in the Monona city limits without even knowing it. Next time consider stopping for a look around.
Almost 8,000 residents live within Monona’s 4-square mile radius. Here you’ll find residential neighborhoods, condos, apartments, commercial space, abundant green space, and the beautiful south and eastern shores of Lake Monona. And for homebuyers? Whether you’re looking for your first home, your last home, or just an upgrade, there’s plenty of housing to choose from.
The median house of condo value in 2016 was 252,430 (almost double the known value in 2000). Overall mean housing prices came in at $298,610, with detached houses selling for an average of $315,668. Townhouses were valued at $210,044 — with duplex units selling for $254,502 and those in 3-4-unit buildings selling for an average of $197,466 and $218,345 for units in 5-or-greater unit buildings. Median apartment rents were $860 a month.
The median household incomes in Monona in $61,733. There is an even split of male and female residents and the median age of Mononans is just over 44 years old.
If lake property — or just walking, biking, or boating along the lake — piques your interest, you’ll be happy to know that Lake Monona offers more than 4 miles of shoreline here! Got a boat? Monona has 5 public boat launches. And with 330 acres of park space — including community and neighborhood parks as well as both wetlands and woodlands, it’s no surprise that Monona has earned a Tree City USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation.
Originally consisting mostly of farmland and summer lake homes, Monona was part of the town of Blooming Grove before officially became a village in 1938. The 1950s saw a population boom increasing form 2,400 residents to just over 8,000.
The 60s saw a marked increase in both residential and commercial development. To accommodate the growing area, the village built a community center and swimming pool as well as a public library and city hall. Monona became a city in 1969. The city annexed some nearby land, but soon ran out of available space, making the city land- (or lake-) locked.
In recent years, a lot of thought and planning has gone into developing the Broadway Corridor, The River Place, Pier 37 and Ahuska Park — an effort that continues today.
Surprisingly, Monona Golf Course is not in Monona’s City limits. Nor is Michael’s Frozen Custard, Olbrich Gardens or (even more oddly) Monona Grove High School’s tennis courts on East Coldspring Drive. But never fear, all of these landmarks are close by — very close.
South Towne Mall and Menards are both located in Monona, however, along with the popular Aldo Leopold Nature Center on 330 Femrite Drive. Along with many other businesses— large and small.
Families will be happy to know that Monona is part of the highly-rated Monona Grove School District, which also includes students in the Cottage Grove area.
This small family-friendly suburb has a lot to offer — no matter what you’re looking for. Next time you find yourself passing through or nearby Monona, stop and take a look around. You might just find you want to stay!
Nestled between Lake Monona and the city of Madison, Monona’s 8,000 residents live within a 4-square mile radius. If you’re considering a move here, you have several options — including single family homes, condos and apartments — in a variety of areas, ranging from quiet residential streets to lake front property to multifamily buildings scattered amongst busy commercial space. The choice is up to you.
Monona has several distinct neighborhoods Here’s a look at a few of them.
- Frost Woods, situated partly along the Lake Monona shoreline, has an active neighborhood association dating back to 1935. They sponsor events such as an annual September clambake, winter social, annual meeting, fireworks display, outdoor movie night and spring and fall cleanup gatherings. The association was created to preserve the natural beauty of the area and most homes are built on double or triple lots — giving this wooded area a spacious feel.
- Belle Isle sits on a tip of Lake Monona and lake homes here start in the $600,000 range, with inland homes going for less.
- The Monona Drive/Winnequah neighborhood is very popular, partially due to its affordable median home value of $338,000. Average rents here are just over $1,000 month. Homes generally have 3 - 4 bedrooms although there’s a mix here including some smaller homes and apartment complexes. The majority, however, are owner-occupied. Many of the house were built between 1940 and 1969, although here are some others constructed between 1970 and 1999. This area appeals to area cyclists — with 3.9% of the residents commuting to work each day.
Due to the close proximity, there are a couple Madison neighborhoods that are also close enough to Monona to make Monona feel like home. Just be aware that schools and other city services are under the auspices of Madison.
- Madison’s Lake Edge neighborhood is as near to Monona as you can get! It’s bordered by Cottage Grove Road to the north, Stoughton Road on the east, Monona Drive on the west and Monona Golf Course on the south. It has a distinctly rural feel. The homes here, while not especially large, are well-kept and situated on spacious lots. Lake Edge Park is right in the middle — and serves as the heart — of this east side neighborhood. There’s easy access to Lake Monona. One huge plus is the affordability of Lake Edge homes — making them especially appealing to young people looking for their first home. The average selling price in April of 2018 was $185,241, with the highest at $275,000 and the lowest a mere $46,000. Most of the homes here are 3- and 4-bedroom Cape Cods and bungalows.
- The Bridge Lakepoint and Waunona neighborhoods are also close to Monona — sitting side-by-side near the Beltline Hwy., and Yahara River, with the northern portions of Waunona sitting along the south shores of Lake Monona. Once, the area featured primarily multi-family housing occupied by renters. Now there’s a mix of townhouses, condos, and a significant number of single-family homes — ranging from modest houses on wooded lots, to the more spacious homes and lots you’ll find along the Lake Monona shoreline.
A diverse neighborhood, the Bridge Lakepoint Waunona Neighborhood Association is proud to hold Monthly Ethnic Celebrations to honor and educate residents about various cultures and traditions. And Waunona Park serves as the gathering place for an annual picnic and offers basketball and tennis courts, a playground, shelter and plenty of greenspace.
Overall, the median home price in Monona is $265,000. The typical commute time (not including bikers) is 22 minutes. And Monona has seen a population growth of 5.2% over the last decade. With all the amenities and neighborhoods to choose from, that’s no surprise that people are finding a place to call their own in Monona.
█ Things to Do in Monona
Nestled between Lake Monona and the city of Madison, Monona is small city with big city amenities. It has a lot to offer its 8,000 residents and visitors year-round, but it’s also close enough to Madison for residents to easily take advantage of the amenities to be found in Wisconsin’s capital city.
Families and nature lovers delight in spending time at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. Located at 330, Femrite Drive, the nature center is open to the public for organized tours or just for exploring on your own. There are summer camps and programs geared to all ages and groups. The center has meeting facilities and is available for events. In fact, many happy brides and grooms have held their weddings there. For those who prefer to wander on their own, there are exhibits and trails. The land, the plants and the birds alone are worth the trip.
If you feel more at home in the water than on land, there several options in Monona. The Monona Community Pool is a 300,000 gallon outdoor pool featuring eight 25-meter lanes for lap swimming and competitions. For the more casual swim fan, there are 2 diving boards and a water slide. The Monona Pool offers swim lessons and has a summer youth swim team — part of the Madison Area All City Swim program.
Once summer’s over, there’s no need to worry. Monona Grove High School also has an eight-lane 25-meter pool. It’s the home pool of the Monona Grove high school swim team but offers lessons and open swim to the public as well.
And then, of course, there’s Lake Monona. The name Monona is a Chippewa word meaning beautiful — and it is. What a great place to spend the day — on the lake or along its shores. There are 2 public beaches in Monona with access to Lake Monona. They are Schluter Beach, located at 4500 Winnequah Rd. This park has a restroom, drinking water, picnic tables, a playground, gazebo, and of course lake access. Frostwoods Beach, a little further down the road at 5800 Winnequah Rd., has picnic tables and lake access. Neither has a lifeguard on duty.
Just a short distance away in Madison, you’ll also find Olbrich Park and beach at 3527 Atwood Ave. Across from Olbrich Botanical Gardens. This is one of Madison’s largest lakefront parks. There are softball fields, a winter ice rink, playground, restroom, canoe and kayak rentals, a soccer field, tennis court, ultimate frisbee field, volleyball court and boat launch. What more could you ask for?
There are also plenty of restaurants sure to suit every taste in Monona. Casual to fancy, coffee shops to fine dining — serving everything from American pub food to a variety of ethnic choices.
The Monona Public Library, at 1000 Nichols Rd., serves book enthusiasts in Monona and beyond. As part of the South-Central Library System, you can request books online and pick them up at this convenient location — or check out books here and return them to any library in the system.
While technically not in Monona, the Monona Golf Course is just blocks away on Dean Ave. This par-36, 9-hole course also offers a driving range and clubhouse — sure to please golfers of any age and ability.
And Monona’s seasonal events include the Monona Farmer’s Market at Ahuska Park on Broadway, a community Easter Egg Hunt, Memorial Day Parade, Summer Concert Series, Art Cart, Pop-up Biergartens, 4th of July Festival, Fall Festival, Halloween Spooktacular, Breakfast with Santa and Candlelit Snowshoe Hikes.
Clearly Monona has much to offer – at any time of the year. Check it out!
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Updated: 19th April, 2021 1:23 AM (UTC).