Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Sun Prairie / Town of Sun Prairie
settlement_type = City

imagesize = 135x160
image_caption = City of Sun Prairie Logo

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dot_mapsize =250px
dot_map_caption =Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = usa
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Wisconsin
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Dane
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subdivision_name3 =
subdivision_type4 =
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government_footnotes = [cite web
title=City of Sun Prairie - Mayor Home
publisher=City of Sun Prairie
] [cite web
title=City of Sun Prairie - City Council Home
publisher=City of Sun Prairie
government_type =Mayor-City Council
leader_title =Mayor
leader_name =Joe Chase
leader_title1 =City Council President
leader_name1 =Zach Weber
leader_title2 =City Council Members
leader_name2 =Collapsible list
title = Alderpersons
list_style = text-align:left;
"District 1"
- Hariah H. Hutkowski
- Russ Fassbender
"District 2"
- Jonathan J. Freund
- Steve Villand
"District 3"
- Rodney Weber
- Zach Weber
"District 4"
- John Murray
- Michael Bruhn

leader_title3 =
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established_title =Settled
established_date =1839
established_title2 =
established_date2 =
established_title3 =Incorporated (city)
established_date3 =1958
area_magnitude =
unit_pref =Imperial
area_footnotes =
area_total_km2 =
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area_water_km2 =
area_total_sq_mi =11.5
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population_as_of =2006
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population_total =25,180
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timezone =Central Standard Time
utc_offset =-6
timezone_DST =Central Daylight Time
utc_offset_DST =-5
latd=43 |latm=11 |lats=0.9744 |latNS=N
longd=89 |longm=13 |longs=56.4132 |longEW=W
elevation_footnotes =cite web
title=Geographic Names Information System Feature Detail Report
publisher=United States Geological Survey
elevation_m =
elevation_ft =984
postal_code_type =ZIP code
postal_code =53590
area_code =608
blank_name =FIPS code
blank_info =55-55025GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info =1584255GR|4
website =
footnotes =

Sun Prairie is a city and surrounding town in the U.S. state of Wisconsin and one of seven cities (and twenty-nine towns) located within Dane County. It consider to be a bedroom community of Madison [cite web |url= |title=Downtown Sun Prairie Phase II Planning Area |publisher=City of Sun Prairie |date=2004-12-20 |accessdate=2008-07-25 |format=PDF] [cite paper |last=Rutherford |first=Paris |title=Re-Development Case Studies: Second-Tier Communities Charting New Courses |version= |pages=5-6 |publisher=ICON Development Group |url= |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-07-25] though many residents are actively involved in the operation of local farms. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 20,369 and is expected to double in size by 2020 to around 40,000. It is the sixth-fastest growing city in the state of Wisconsin, and the fastest-growing among cities of 10,000 or more, growing an estimated 23.6% between 2000 and 2006.cite book |title=State of Wisconsin Blue Book 2007-2008 |publisher=Wisconsin State Legislature Legislative Reference Bureau |pages=749 |date=July 2007 |accessdate=2008-07-25 |url= |format=PDF]


President Martin Van Buren commissioned a party of 45 men, including Augustus A. Bird, to build a territory capitol in Madison. The group of men left Milwaukee on May 26 1837 and traveled for days in the rain. On June 9, the group emerged at the edge of the prairie and with the sun shining for the first time in days, carved the words "Sun Prairie" into a tree. Charles Bird returned to the area two years later and became the first settler.cite web |title=Our Community: History |url= |publisher=City of Sun Prairie | |accessdate=2008-07-25] [cite web |title=Dictionary of Wisconsin History |url= |publisher=Wisconsin Historical Society | |accessdate=2008-07-25]

The Town of Sun Prairie was created on February 2 1846. [cite web |title=Dictionary of Wisconsin History |url= |publisher=Wisconsin Historical Society | |accessdate=2008-07-25] The city of Sun Prairie, which grew from that town, was incorporated in 1958. [cite web |title=Sun Prairie, Wisconsin |url= | |accessdate=2008-07-25]


The city has a total area of convert|11.5|sqmi|km2|1|sp=us, whereas the town, according to the United States Census Bureau, has a total area of convert|31.4|sqmi|km2|1|sp=us, all of it land.


Dane County, of which both the city and town of Sun Prairie are a part, is considered to possess a "varied and unique" geologic and physiographic setting.cite web |url= |title=City of Sun Prairie Master Plan 2020 |accessdate=2008-07-24 | |publisher=City of Sun Prairie |format=PDF] The center of Dane County contains the Yahara River Valley, encompassing part of the city. This area contains deep glacial deposits created by the last Wisconsin Glaciation which began over 110,000 years ago and receded only 10-15,000 years ago. This glaciation is also notable in that it also created the Great Lakes when the Laurentide ice sheet melted. These glacial deposits dammed up the large valleys created by the glacier's passing, which formed a chain of large lakes and wetlands, marking the physiographic area as primarily glacial; ground moraines with extensive areas of peat and marsh deposits.

The eastern part of Dane County is known as the drumlin and marsh physiographic area, which includes most of Sun Prairie. The deposits found in this area include general glacial deposits and marsh deposits, and consists of many small drumlin hills interspersed with shallow glacial deposits having poorly defined drainage.

The general soils associations in the Sun Prairie include the Dodge-St. Charles-McHenry, Plano-Ringwood-Griswold, and Batavia-Houghton-Dresden Associations. [cite web |url=;sesessionid=9NZKT4RFCgf9NXJQR99GM5Jb |title=Comprehensive Plan – 2003-2022: Agricultural, Natural and Cultural Resources Element
accessdate=2008-07-24 | |publisher=Town of Bristol |format=DOC
] The Dodge-St. Charles-McHenry soils can be found in the eastern, southern, and central portions of Sun Prairie. This association has a varied landscape, which is mostly sloping to sloping with some areas on benches and in depressions. The Dodge, St. Charles and McHenry soils are gently sloping to mostly sloping and well drained to moderately well drained. The Sable soils in this association are nearly level and poorly drained. Most of the soils in this association have moderate permeability and a high available water capacity. Most of them also have slight to moderate limitations for urban uses and farming.


While the greatest amount of land in Dane County is agricultural or undeveloped land at convert|674160|acre|km2|sp=us in 1990, or over 85% of the total acreage,cite web |url= |title=Land Use & Transportation Plan: Existing Conditions and Trends |date=1998-02-04 |accessdate=2008-07-24 | |publisher=Dane County Regional Planning Commission] a relative economic boom is taking place with the conversion and repurposing of agricultural and undeveloped land in Dane County, and this is directly reflected in how Sun Prairie has developed as well. According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, between 1970 and 1990 in Dane County, approximately convert|27207|acre|km2|sp=us of agricultural land were converted to other uses, primarily residential, industrial and commercial.


The city has a total area of convert|11.5|sqmi|km2|1|sp=us. Likewise, the town of Sun Prairie adds considerable size to this figure. [cite web |url= |title=Intergovernmental Agreement |accessdate=2008-07-24 | |publisher=Town of Sun Prairie] Sun Prairie is located convert|10|mi|km|sp=us northeast of Madison and convert|75|mi|km|sp=us west of Milwaukee. The landscape of the city and town consists mostly of gently rolling hills and plains. The elevation of the city averages about convert|984|ft|m|sp=us above mean sea level.

Historically, the city evolved out of the town as a standalone municipal government. The Town of Sun Prairie is governed by an elected Town Board consisting of a Town Chairperson and two Town Supervisors. Towns have only those powers granted by the Wisconsin Statutes. The town contracts with the Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department (SPVFD) for fire service and with Dane County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) District 14 with their station located in nearby Marshall for emergency medical services. The town's police needs are served by the Dane County Sheriff Department.

Sun Prairie has in recent years develop a number of traditional neighborhood developments (TND).cite web |url= |title=Traditional Neighborhood Development in Sun Prairie (TND) |accessdate=2008-07-24 | |publisher=City of Sun Prairie] Often referred to as "new urbanism", the city planners strive to create neighborhoods that focus on the pedestrian and the appearance of city streets. While many of these developments seek to address the problems and concerns associated with conventional suburban development and urban sprawl, it is notable that many of these neighborhoods occupy former farmland and undeveloped rural lands. The city's planners address the criticisms that they are "attempting to recreate 'pretend' neighborhoods" by noting that the aim of the TND is to borrow those design ideas and features effective in older neighborhoods and adapting them to current needs. [cite web |url= |title=TND Design Principles |accessdate=2008-07-24 | |publisher=City of Sun Prairie |format=PDF]


climate chart|Sun Prairie
source = Weatherbasecite web
url = |title = Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, United States of America |accessdate=2008-07-25 |publisher=Canty and Associates LLC |

Summers tend to be hot and humid. On the Köppen climate classification, the Sun Prairie area is in the warm summer humid continental climate zone (Dfa). The city experiences a full range of weather events, including snow, ice, rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes and fog.

As noted above, Sun Prairie's climate tends to vary widely, with temperatures in the summer in the 70's °F (21 °C) and frigidly cold during the winter months, when temperatures tend to average in the 10's °F (-12 °C). The warmest month of the year is July, with an average maximum temperature of convert|82.1|F|C|1|sp=us, while the coldest month of the year is January, with an average minimum temperature of convert|9.3|F|C|1|sp=us. Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with an average difference of convert|21|F-change|C-change|1|sp=us, and fairly limited during winter with an average difference of convert|16|F-change|C-change|1|sp=us.

The annual average precipitation at Sun Prairie is convert|32.95|in|cm|sp=us. Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, and the wettest month of the year is August with an average rainfall of convert|4.33|in|cm|sp=us.

The Sun Prairie area has seen historically notable tornado activity. On June 7 1984, The Barneveld Tornado, an F5 tornado with wind speeds between convert|261|and|318|mph|km/h|sp=us touched down convert|20.7|mi|km|sp=us away from the city center, killing nine people, injuring two hundred, and causing between $50,000 and $500,000 in damage. On September 26 1951, an F4 tornado with wind speeds between convert|207|and|260|mph|km/h|sp=us touched down less than convert|20|mi|km|sp=us away from the city center, killing one person and injuring nine. [cite web |url= |title=Zip Code, Weather Forecast, Radio Stations, Population, Crime Rate, Area Codes | | |accessdate=2008-07-25] More recently, a tornado outbreak on August 18 2005 produced an F3 tornado in nearby Stoughton and five tornadoes occurred in Dane County on June 7 and June 12 2008. [cite news |title=State already past its tornado average |publisher=The Capitol Times | |last=Ivey |first=Mike |url= |date=2008-07-22 |accessdate=2008-07-25]


The town and city of Sun Prairie periodically encounters difficulties with flooding, due to the presence of hydric soils, spring melting and its proximity to the Koshkonong Creek. This pre-existing condition is compounded by stormwater runoff from development and urbanization in the upper reaches of the watershed. Many residents of the town feel that the problems with flooding are worsening, citing increasing instances over the last fourteen years [cite web |url= |title="Dane County Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan: Attachment 11: Town of Sun Prairie" |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=30 |year=2004 |month=September |format=pdf |work= |publisher=Dane County |pages=8 |language= |doi= ]

A recent flooding on April 11 2008 was caused by heavy rains overnight which outpaced the city's storm drain system and leaked in to the sewer system. This caused flooding in residential basements. Said John Krug, Sun Prairie's Wastewater Superintendent, "It could be leaking into our pipes. It could be leaking in a lot faster than it's going to the treatment plants." [cite news |first=Zac |last=Schultz |authorlink= |coauthors= |title="WEATHER ALERT: Sun Prairie Flooding" |url= | |publisher=NBC15 |date=2008-04-11 |accessdate=2008-07-31 ]

Both the town and the city suffered notably from the June 2008 Midwest floods. ABC News correspondent Barbara Pinto notes that the flood damage to the area's corn crops will undoubtedly raise prices in supermarkets. [cite news |first=Barbara |last=Pinto |authorlink= |coauthors= |title="Rising Floodwaters Sink Farmers' Hopes: Instead of Being Green With Crops, Fields Are Underwater" |url= | |publisher=ABC News |date=2008-06-11 |accessdate=2008-07-31 ] Farmers in the area expressed similar concerns. In an article by Alex Johnson for MSNBC, Johnson interviews several farmers, one of whom expected to lose "at least 20 percent of his soybean harvest", adding that the losses were uniform for all of his fields. [cite news |first=Alex |last=Johnson |authorlink= |coauthors= |title="Floods create economic catastrophe in Midwest: Agriculture, transportation, small businesses could be crippled for long term" |url= |work= |publisher=MSNBC |date=2008-06-20 |accessdate=2008-07-31 ]

The town website helped to coordinate relief efforts, noting road closures and where to load sandbags. [cite web |url= |title="Town of Sun Prairie Flood Related News" |accessdate=2008-07-31 |work= |publisher=Town of Sun Prairie |date= ]



As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, the city of Sun Prairie has a population 20,369 people (23,266 in 2006), which ranks it as the 35th largest city in Wisconsin between the nearby cities of Mequon and Watertown. [ [ Document: ] ] [ [ American FactFinder ] ] This population includes over 7,881 households, and 5,437 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,697 people per square mile (823.5/km²). [ Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (WI) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, news, sex offenders ] ] There were 8,198 housing units at an average density of 858.8/sq mi (331.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.68% White, 3.10% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 1.34% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.98% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. 2.72% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,881 households out of which 38.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 23.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 33.7% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $51,345, and the median income for a family was $61,197. Males had a median income of $40,510 versus $28,786 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,277. About 3.8% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.

During the working day, Sun Prairie's population declines (due to commuting) by 2,601 (-12.8%).


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 2,308 people, 806 households, and 653 families residing in the town. The population density was 73.6 people per square mile (28.4/km²). There were 830 housing units at an average density of 26.5/sq mi (10.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.36% White, 0.69% Black or African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 1.60% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 806 households out of which 38.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.1% were married couples living together, 4.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.9% were non-families. 12.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 111.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $60,938, and the median income for a family was $62,154. Males had a median income of $33,352 versus $27,713 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,954. About 0.7% of families and 1.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government

Sun Prairie has a Council-manager form of government. The mayor, who is elected at large every odd-numbered year, is the presiding officer of the City Council, or Common Council, and has the power to recommend board and commission members to the Common Council. He serves as the representative of the Executive branch of the government, and is considered the chief elected official. The current mayor, Joe Chase had previously served as the chair of Sun Prairie Landmarks Commission and as a member of the "Ad Hoc" Downtown Renovation Committee. He was reelected to his second term of office in 2007.

The legislative branch consists of eight alderpersons which along with the mayor makes up the Common Council. There are four aldermanic districts with two alderpersons per districts each serving for two-year terms over alternating years. The Common Council’s primary responsibility is the passage of law in the form of municipal ordinances or resolutions. The Council also manages the city’s financial affairs, its budget, revenues and the raising of funds necessary for the operation of the city. The Common Council also determines the salaries of all officers and employees of the city.

Sun Prairie has a full-time City Administrator, Patrick Allen Cannon, who acts as the chief administrative officer. He is responsible for directing and coordinating the administration of the city government in accordance with the policies established by the common council. Other city officers consist of Assistant Administrator, Clerk, Treasurer, Assessor, Municipal Judge, Police Chief and Fire Chief.

At the Federal level the City of Sun Prairie is served by U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D) and Herb Kohl (D). The U.S. Congresswoman for Dane County is Representative Tammy Baldwin (D).

Fire and police departments

Sun Prairie has an entirely volunteer fire department, serving the city and town of Sun Prairie, as well as the towns of Burke and Bristol. [] The department began in 1891, and consists of 45 members who all maintain external jobs. The fire department has ten fire engines and one vintage vehicle, a 1927 Stoughton fire engine that was refurbished by a past fire department chief, which is used solely for parades. [ [ City of Sun Prairie - Pumpers ] ]

The fire department has regularly received federal funding, often in the form of the Assistance to Firefighters grant program. In 2002 and 2003, the SPFD received a total of $235,575 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), [ Federal Assistance to Recipient STEADMAN CONSTRUCTION, INC. in ID, FY 2000-2007, summary ] ] and again in 2004 and 2005 received $396,950. [ Federal Assistance to Recipient STEADFAST TRANSPORTATION INC in NY, FY 2000-2007, summary ] ] In 2006 and 2007, the amount of assistance is $79,519. [ City of Sun Prairie - Fire Home ] ]

bar box
title=Assistance to Firefighters Grant Amounts
caption=Amounts awarded by year by DHS.


Sun Prairie has been home to two local cable access television stations, KSUN-12 and KIDS-4, for over thirty years. They are locally available on Charter Communications digital cable tier. [cite web | title=KSUN-12 and KIDS-4 Being Moved to Digital Cable Tier! | publisher=Sun Prairie Cable Access | accessdate=2008-08-27 | url=] The latter channel, KIDS-4 is unique [cite web | title=KIDS-4 Television | publisher=Sun Prairie Cable Access | accessdate=2008-08-27 | url=] in that its programming content, production (camera, sound, lighting and editing) aspects including writing and direction are determined and performed by the 30 to 40 children (divided into groups of five or six) selected per year.cite web | title=Sun Prairie Cable Access TeleVision FAQs | publisher=Sun Prairie Cable Access | accessdate=2008-08-27 | url=] Historically, these children have ranged in age from nine to fourteen, [cite web | title=Kids 4 TV Show | publisher=Center for Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures | accessdate=2008-08-27 | date=2002-10-02 | url=] but in 2000, the first high school-aged crew was introduced.

The city and town are served by two local newspapers: the "Sun Prairie Star" (formerly the "Star Countryman"), with a circulation of approximately 5,300, and the "Hometown Advertiser" with a circulation of around 35,000. The city also had an online news site, "Sun Prairie Today" will cease publication at the close of business Sept. 30 2008. . [cite web | title=Sun Prairie Today | publisher=Sun Prairie Today: About Us | accessdate=2008-08-27 | url=] Also popular is the Wisconsin State Journal, a regional newspaper.

Health and utilities

The city of Sun Prairie maintains its own emergency medical services department which in 2004 transitioned to career paramedic level. Sun Prairie EMS, was founded initially in October of 1977 as an extension of the local police department. In the 80's and 90's, most of the service was slowly replaced by full-time EMT's. The city's rapid growth affected ambulance response times negatively, and the 1980s saw the hiring of a full-time EMS director. [ [ City of Sun Prairie - 1980's ] ] In the 1990s, the service transitioned from EMT-Basic personnel to that of Intravenous Technician levels, as well as Paramedic level. [ [ City of Sun Prairie - 2000's ] ]

Sun Prairie EMS is a charter member of Dane County's Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, or MABAS. Responding to over 2,000 calls in 2007 (a fivefold increase since its inception, and a 9.8% increase fromt he previous year [ [ City of Sun Prairie - What's New ] ] ), the department addresses medical and rescue calls in the City of Sun Prairie and Township of Bristol in a district covering convert|50|sqmi|km2 and a population of nearly 30,000.

Sun Prairie EMS transports to the following nearby Madison hospitals: UW Hospital (Level 1 Trauma Center), St. Mary's Hospital, Meriter Hospital, VA Hospital (also called "William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital") and nearby Columbus Community Hospital in Columbus. In 2008 St. Mary’s Hospital of Madison, WI purchased land to construct a 24 x 7 Free-standing Emergency Room facility in Sun Prairie. [ [ Emergency Care for Sun Prairie Closer to Home ] ]

The city owns it own utilities, the Water & Light Commission and the Water Pollution Control Facility. Sun Prairie's water is supplied from six wells pumped into the system or stored in the three water towers (Bird St, Columbus St, and Linnerud Dr), and maintains a storage capacity of 2.85 million gallons.

The bulk of the city's electricity is purchased or generated by Sun Prairie Water & Light, a Wisconsin Public Power, Inc (WPPI) member utility. [ Sun Prairie Water & Light ] ] The following is a breakdown of their portfolio with the generating capacity of each:
* Clay Boswell Unit 4 (coal) - Bass Brook Twp, MN (107.5 MW)
* Hatfield Powerhouse (hydroelectric) - Black River Falls, WI (7.2 MW)
* Island Street Peaking Plant (Gas) - Kaukauna, WI (54 MW)
* South Fond du Lac Unit 1 (WPL dual fuel) - Fond du Lac, WI (84 MW)
* South Fond du Lac Unit 4 (WPL dual fuel) - Fond du Lac, WI (84 MW)
* Top of Iowa 2 (Iberdrola Renewable wind) - Joice, IA (53 MW)
* Worthington Wind 2 & 3 (wind) -Buffalo Ridge, MN (1.8 MW)

WPPI also purchases power for its owner members from outside (ex. Alliant and WE-Energies supply approximately 17% of the WPPI needs). On of WPPI's largest members, Sun Prairie's peak capacity was reached in 2006 at 57 MW.

Natural gas is supplied to the city by WE-Energies with headquarters in Milwaukee, WI.

The Town of Sun Prairie residents obtain electrical services from Alliant Energy headquartered in Madison, Wis. As with most rural residents they contract privately for heating fuel or propane. For water, residents own their own private wells and for wastewater residents have private septic systems for on-site treatment.


General Casualty Insurance's world headquarters is in Sun Prairie, and is the city's largest employer. Other significant employers include the Sun Prairie School District, Verizon North (also called by its former name, GTE-North) and the Wisconsin Cheeseman. [ June 4, 1999 ] ] Established in 1946, the Cheeseman is a privately held mail-order food gift company operating in Sun Prairie. The company publishes several catalogs and emails each year to promote its line of over 300 products, consisting of: Wisconsin cheese, sausage, cakes, cookies, fresh fruits, nuts, candy and other assorted food gifts. The company was owned and operated for 60 years by a single family before being purchased by a group of private investors, Wisconsin Food Gift Co., on April 17, 2007. [ [ Multichannel Merchant - April 24, 2007.] ] The Wisconsin Cheeseman employs 170 workers, though this number doubles and often triples during the busy Christmas holiday season. The company recorded $36.4 million in total sales in 2006. [ [,-The,-Inc/--HD__ffjcycsxs,src__dbi--/free-co-dnb_factsheet.xhtml Hoovers] ]

Sun Prairie, and by proxy, Dane County, has a notably small unemployment rate, and in some instances the lowest of any metropolitan area in the nation. The trend represented by this an other economic factors indicates "an increase in the level of business activity and a slowdown in labor force growth, which is expected to last well into the 21st Century."


The Sun Prairie Area School District coordinates local public education. The system - which as of the 2007-08 school year enrolled 6,024 studentsconsists of seven elementary schools, two middle schools and a single high school. [ City of Sun Prairie - Our Community Home ] ] Which elementary schools (C.H. Bird, Creekside, Eastside, Horizon, Northside, Royal Oaks or Westside) a child will attend is determined by the geographic proximity to the school closest to their home address. [] The same sort of determining factor applies to the two Middle schools (Patrick Marsh and Prairie View), but all public school students attend the senior high school, Sun Prairie High School.

Due to severe overcrowding issues, construction recently began on a new high school located to the southeast of SPHS, which will complement the current high school. [ [ SPASD : Sun Prairie Area School District : ] ] The new high school will be complete in 2010, and will graduate its first class of seniors in 2011. [ [ Denied:1up! Software ] ] The new school, which has yet to be named, will accommodate those students in grades 10 11-12, while the current school will teach those students in8th 9- grades The current high school sports team mascot is the cardinal.

Additionally there are three parochial schools, within the school district. Founded in 1892, Sacred Hearts School is a Catholic school attending to children of pre-K-8th grades. [ [ Sacred Hearts School ] ] Two other schools, Peace Evangelical Lutheran (pre-k-8) and Calvary Baptist Christian (k-8) have smaller student bodies. Most recently, Calvary Baptist, which had very small enrollment of only 25 students, voted to close the school, effective June 30th, 2008. [ [ Calvary Baptist Christian School ] ]


Points of interest

Infobox_nrhp | name =Sun Prairie Water Tower
nrhp_type =

caption = The Columbus Street Water Tower
location= Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
lat_degrees = 43
lat_minutes = 11
lat_seconds = 14
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 89
long_minutes = 12
long_seconds = 39
long_direction = W
locmapin = Wisconsin
area =
built =1899
architect= Stegerwald, Frank
added = April 06, 2000
governing_body = Local
refnum=00000360cite web|url=|title=National Register Information System|date=2008-04-15|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
Several places in Sun Prairie are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Placed on the registry in 1998, the Adam and Mary Smith House was built in 1879 by Adam Smith, who came to do shingle work on the Wisconsin State Capitol decades earlier. The home was done in Italianate architecture. In 2004, the house was relocated a short distance to the east and now sits prominently in the "town square" of a new urbanism neighborhood called Smith's Crossing, a Veridan Homes development.

The Sun Prairie Water Tower, located at the juncture of Columbus, Church and Cliff Sts., was designed by Frank Stegerwald and constructed in 1912 of stone, metal and wood. It is listed as #360 in the National Register of Historic Places. [ [ Sun Prairie Water Tower - Archiplanet ] ]

Also listed in the National Registry is the Dr. Charles G. Crosse House is a historic home circa 1864. [ [http://WWW.NR.NPS.GOV/iwisapi/explorer.dll?IWS_SCHEMA=NRIS1&IWS_LOGIN=1&IWS_REPORT=100000043 Impromptu Web Query ] ] Dr. Crosse was instrumental in the development of Sun Prairie. Dr. Crosse was the city's doctor.cite web |url= |title=Annual Cookie Walk: The sweet taste of preserving local history |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date=November 29 2007 |work=Sun Prairie Today] Dr. Crosse and his son Charles S. Crosse published a newspaper called "The Countryman",cite book |title=Georgia O'keeffe, a Private Friendship: Walking the Sun Prairie Land|last=Hopkins Reily|first= Nancy|authorlink= |coauthors= |year= |publisher=Sunstone Press |location=Santa Fe, NM |isbn= 0865344515|pages=29 ] which evolved into the "Star Countryman" and currently the "Sun Prairie Star". Crosse additionally helped to establish the first high school and served as a State Legislator. His house is described by Nancy Hopkins Reily in her book "Georgia O'keeffe, a Private Friendship: Walking the Sun Prairie Land", as a "gothic revival frame residence with barge board trim",

Other historical sites include theFuhremann Canning Company Factory and the Georgia O’Keeffe farmstead, formerly located on the south side of County Highway T. It was destroyed by fire on November 6 1976. A historical marker has since been placed at the site in addition to a marker near city hall.

Also of interest:
* The National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame at Angell Park Speedway
* The Youth Baseball Complex is home to baseball and softball programs, as well as Sun Prairie's Little League program.
* Sun Prairie Historical Library and Museum.
* The Sun Prairie Firemans Park in the Prairie is a community-built park completed in 2007.

Sun Prairie is located near a number of regional tourist attractions, including the House on the Rock, Cave of the Mounds, Old World Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Dells. [ [ City of Sun Prairie - Our Community Home ] ]

A park system located nearby the city consists of over thirty parks covering convert|400|acre|km2. Two nearby lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, allow for boating, water skiing and fishing.

Local events

While not as popular as Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil, Sun Prairie's own Jimmy the Groundhog is the local favorite on Groundhog Day in February, [ [ Groundhog Day Sun Prairie ] ] and the town has actually been noted as the "Groundhog Capital of the World" in the United States Congressional Record since 1955. ["Congressional Record." 84th cong., 1st sess., 1955, 121, no.15, (2 February 1955)] [$file/History-updated+12-03.doc]

In mid-June, the city holds a local Taste of the Arts fair, in conjunction with the Georgia O'Keeffe Celebration. [ Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce : Taste of the Arts Fair/O'Keeffe Celebration ] ] Artwork is exhibited and how-to classes are informally held regarding the creation or enhancement of art and crafts. A Georgia O'Keeffe recreation discussion is held.

The Flags of Freedom Field Show is a day-long series of events in July, featuring high-school marching band competitions, beginning with concert competitions in the morning, a parade competition in the afternoon, ending in a field competition in the evening. The band competitions feature bands throughout the United States and Canada, and is hosted by the Sound of Sun Prairie. [ [ Sound of Sun Prairie] ]

In mid-August of each year, Sun Prairie hosts a Sweet Corn Festival, which is attended by over 10,000 people from all over the midwest. Over 70 tons of sweet corn are served and/or sold during the weekend event, which includes a carnival, a parade down Main Street and performances by local and regional musical groups. [ [ Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce : Sweet Corn Festival 2008 ] ]

Images of Sun Prairie


"1990 Census data indicates that most Sun Prairie residents drive their own vehicle to work (79.4%). A fair number of residents use carpooling as their primary transportation to work (13.4%). Other methods of transportation remain a minor factor."


*Jct|state=IL|I|39 runs concurrently with I-90 from Illinois to Portage. In Madison, they are joined by I-94 until Portage. This overlap occurs in the area immediately between the metropolitan city of Madison and Sun Prairie.
*Jct|state=IL|I|90 runs east-west through the western, central and southern portions of the state, and is located to the west of Sun Prairie. A total of convert|187|mi|km of Interstate 90 lie in Wisconsin;cite web |url= |title=Route Log: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002 |author=U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration |accessdate=2006-08-28 |date=2002-10-31] the Madison exit (designated 135B) leads to US 151 North and Sun Prairie.
*Jct|state=IL|I|94 as it occurs in Wisconsin runs east-west through the western, central and southeastern portions of the state. The junction of I-90 and i-94 occurs roughly six miles to the southwest of Sun Prairie heading eastward toward Milwaukee at what is commonly known as the "Badger Interchange" where the three interstates (I-39, I-90 and I-94) meet at the eastern terminus of WIS 30. []

US highways

* (normally called U.S. Highway 151, Highway 151 or US 151) runs northeast-southwest across the eastern to southwest portions of the state. Sun Prairie is divided lengthwise by 151, southwest to northeast, having four different access points: Windsor Street, Reiner Road, Main Street and Bird Street

Wisconsin State Trunklines


Prior to 1947, WIS 19 followed the current route of US 18 between Bridgeport and Madison. The route then passed through downtown Madison and followed then WIS 31 (part of the current US 151) to Sun Prairie. East of Sun Prairie the route followed its present day alignment to Watertown. The route then followed present-day WIS 16 to Waukesha and east from there along present-day WIS 59 into Milwaukee.cite web|url= | title=Rand McNally Auto Road Atlas|year=1926|publisher=Rand McNally|accessdate=2008-01-02] When the U.S. Highway system was implemented, WIS 19's western terminus was relocated to Madison. The portion between Madison and Sun Prairie remained despite the debut of US 151 as did the eastern portion that became concurrent with US 16. In 1947, the eastern terminus was moved to Watertown, the section along US 151 was removed, and the portion between Mazomanie and Sun Prairie was implemented. [ [] ]

The part of WIS 19 roughly from those interstates west to WIS 113 had at one time been on the corridor of a planned beltine route around the north side of Madison. The current status of the parkway is uncertain. [ North Mendota Parkway Advisory Committee] accessed 13 August 2006]

County Highways

County Trunk highways (also called "County Highway", "CTH", "CR", or simply "County Road") are a system of highways maintained at the county level or below in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is unique in that the state uses only letters as route designations for their county roads. Missouri uses letters, but the lettered highways are actually secondary state highways (having 2nd priority against numbered roads) instead of county roads.

Each county maintains its own system. A particular county may have routes in single letter (CTH-H), double letter (CTH-LL or CTH-AB) or triple letter (CTH-BBB).cite web | last = Bessert | first = Chris | title =Wisconsin Highways: The Trunkline System | work =Wisconsin Highways | url = | accessdate = 2007-03-20]

Every County maintains its own County Trunk Highway system. These may or may not be repeated, depending on the size, and population of the county. Many municipalities designate as county highways roads having pre-existing names, and both are used interchangeably.

Sun Prairie is bordered by the following county roads:
* "C" (also named N. Grand Avenue) runs north-south and borders Sun Prairie to the west and is crossed by interchange by US 151.
* "N" (also named N. Bristol Street) runs north-south and bisects a third of the city to the west and is crossed by interchange by US 151.
* "VV" (also named Twin Lane Road) runs north-south and borders the city to the west and is crossed by interchange by US 151.
* Vinburn Road runs east-west and borders the city to the north.

Bus service

Sun Prairie has no internal bus service outside of the school buses that service the different area schools, but instead has provided a Shared Ride Taxi service [ [ City of Sun Prairie - Taxi Service ] ] for the past decade, wherein residents can travel throughout the city for a small charge, sometimes sharing the ride with other passengers. This service is subsidized by grants obtained through the city. government, which also provides for low income transit via the use of identification cards. Corner service is also available at specific street locations during the academic school year, and are intended primarily for those middle-school and high school students , the route being determined by the students signing up for it. Tickets for rides from corner service can be purchased at a discount from drivers. While the taxi service is exclusively for the city, Shared Taxi also provides for thrice-daily shuttle service (8:30 am, 12:30pm, 4:30pm) to the nearby East Towne Mall, located on the northeastern edge of Madison, which allows commuters to utilize the more extensive Madison Metro bus system to travel within Madison.

Additionally, the Van Galder Bus Company (informally known as simply "Van Galder bus", a division of Coach USA bus lines) provide service from Chicago's O'Hare and Midway Airports as well as downtown Chicago, stopping at various points between there and University of Wisconsin's Memorial Student Union. The closest access point to Sun Prairie is the Dutch Mill Park and Ride [ [] ]


Dane County Regional Airport airport codes|MSN|KMSN|MSN, also known as "MSN Truax Field", is a commercial airport located convert|10|mi|km northwest from Sun Prairie (and five miles (8 km) northeast of the center of Madison). American has three runways and in 2006 it served over 1.6 million passengers.FAA-airport|ID=MSN|use=PU|own=PU|site=27346.*A, effective 2007-12-20]

In 2006 the airport completed a $65 million expansion that doubled the size of the terminal, built in a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced prairie style. New features include more restaurant and retail area post-security, an art court, and both business and family lounges. As has been the case in the past decade the airport is continually adding additional parking since.

The airport is home to both the Army National Guard and the Wisconsin Air National Guard. [ [ Truax Field / Dane County Regional Airport ] ] Commercial airlines (and destinations) include:

* American Airlines Gates 11 and 12
** AmericanConnection operated by Trans States Airlines (St. Louis)
** American Eagle (Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York-LaGuardia)
* Continental Airlines Gate 4
** Continental Connection operated by CommutAir (Cleveland)
** Continental Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines (Cleveland, Newark)
* Delta Air Lines Gates 1 and 3
** Delta Connection operated by Chautauqua Airlines (Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky)
** Delta Connection operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines (Atlanta)
* Midwest Airlines Gates 5 and 13
** Midwest Connect operated by SkyWest Airlines (Kansas City, Milwaukee)
* Northwest Airlines Gates 2, 8-10 (Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul)
** Northwest Airlink operated by Compass Airlines (Minneapolis/St. Paul)
** Northwest Airlink operated by Pinnacle Airlines (Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia)
** Northwest Airlink operated by Mesaba Airlines (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Washington-Reagan)
* United Airlines Gates 6 and 7
** United Express operated by Mesa Airlines (Chicago-O'Hare)
** United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines (Chicago-O'Hare, Denver)
** United Express operated by Trans States Airlines (Chicago-O'Hare, Denver)

The airline also acts as a fixed base operator (FBO) is Wisconsin Aviation, [ [ Wisconsin Aviation] , the airport's fixed base operator (FBO)] which purchased the assets of the former FBO, Four Lakes Aviation, in 1994.

Other airlines in within convert|100|mi|km of Sun Prairie include the Greater Rockford Airport, located convert|68.3|mi|km away,
Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport, convert|68.3|mi|km away,
Appleton's Outagamie County Airport, convert|82.6|mi|km away and
Dubuque Municipal Airport located convert|93.6|mi|km away. O'Hare Airport, located across the Illinois border in Chicago is convert|107.6|mi|km away. [ [ Sun Prairie Airports | ] ]


While Sun Prairie has tracks for freight trains to the south of the city, the only passenger train to service the area (including Madison) is Amtrak's "Empire Builder", which operates in the Midwestern and Northwestern United States. The current route runs from Chicago, Illinois to the Pacific Northwest arriving in nearby Columbus (CBS) as a whistle stop (meaning only at request or prior reservation). The ridership on the train has been increasing slowly, the ridership numbers from Amtrak indicate that an average of 16,850 [] riders per year riding to/from Columbus has held steady for the past two years, despite the growth, indicating that the growing population and riders do not readily use the train. Travel time to and from nearby Chicago is slightly under three hours. [ [ New Title ] ]

Notable citizens

*Todd Kluever, NASCAR driver
*Georgia O'Keeffe, artist [ [ Georgia O'Keeffe Celebration ] ]
*Bill Wambach, set national high jump record (1.26 m) for the 80-to-84-year-old division at 2006 Badger State Games, has lived in Sun Prairie since 1978. Bill Wambach has participated in the Badger State Games for many years.
*Paige Davis, an American actress best known as a host of the reality television series "Trading Spaces".

ee also




External links

* [ Sun Prairie] official city website
* [ official town website]
* [ Sun Prairie Community Site]
* [ Sun Prairie Tourism]
* [ Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce]
* [ Sun-Prairie-Wisconsin] official city events site
* [ Sun Prairie Star] Online version of city's official newspaper
* [ Sun Prairie Today] City online daily news
* [ Jimmy the Groundhog] home page
* [ Sun Prairie's Historic Crosse House]
* [ Dane County, of which Sun Prairie is a part]
* [ sun praire school district website]

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