It is not an overstatement to say that I have been obsessed with the City’s plans for a public market and the plans for the Yahara Corridor, as it’s called. I was pretty interested in the former even before we moved to the corner of Busy and Busiest Street that You Can Live On in Madison, but I admit I wasn’t too aware of the latter. In fact, before moving to our current spot, I wasn’t even aware that the City had put in the Yahara River Bike Path that beautifully connects Tenney Park to the Capital City Trail and allows bikers and pedestrians to move between the East Johnson area and the Willy Street area without having to cross the busiest street in
America Madison (or what I like to call “home”). Anyway, I’ve been devouring all of the planning materials and thanking my lucky stars for the Internet Age that allows me to do so from the quiet of my couch (seriously, it is pretty quiet). It’s been super fun to look at the plan and recommendations that were published in 1998 and see how it’s played out since then. It’s also been great to see the most recent (I think) proposals for the area. And now, with the public market plan? I mean, it’s almost too much for this city planning-phile to handle.
With regard to the public market, it’s super interesting to me to compare this initial (I think) analysis done in 2010, which advocated for placing the market downtown, with the current version. As I now know with my experience on the Transportation and Parking committee, city staff has been saying that the Government East parking garage – the one on Doty next to the Great Dane – is in desperate need of help. Thus, it made some sense to think about redoing the whole space* and including a market. But, times have changed since then and, perhaps most significantly, the mayor has changed since then and now the collective wisdom says that downtown has enough going for it and maybe we should think about helping out other, slightly-less-awesome areas of the City. It was then with great excitement that I heard from our realtor (after we had moved in) that the City was considering putting the public market near us. Whoah. Had our lemon of a house just turned into a savvy buy? JK. It’s not a lemon nor a savvy buy. It’s a great house that has some issues and that will continue to sit on the busiest street in
America Madison. There were still a lot of hurdles to cross, but I followed the stories on the market more closely now. I annoyed all of my friends with my incessant talk that it just made good, honest sense to put that damn market by us. It just did. While I didn’t attend any of the four public meetings on thoughts on location, I did weigh in online with a comment on why I thought a spot by the Yahara would be great. I was pleasantly surprised when another person weighed in online to say how much s/he thought my comment was great; I was downright smitten when I saw that the final report included a bar graph representing the online comments. My voice was heard! Sorta. Anyway, then on Tuesday afternoon, I heard the news that the analysis by the professionals had been finished and that their recommendation was – WAIT FOR IT – the busiest street in America Madison!! Holy bananas was I excited. Deep breaths, Kate: DEEP. BREATHS. There was still so much more to this. The next morning, though, I woke up to an alert on my phone (and a text message from Wendolyn) telling me that the committee overseeing this whole fun (the Local Food Committee, which I didn’t know existed previously) unanimously voted for the East Wash site. [Now, let me just give an aside here: I think all three of the final spots made a lot of sense for all sorts of reasons. I totally understand that I am biased given my home base. I still think, though, that the East Wash site makes the most sense for this project at this time. I do hope that the other two sites are next in line for some sweet redevelopment because both the south side and the north side of the city are well-deserving of some City-funded love.] HOORAY. I was elated! Upon seeing the alert, I screamed, “YES!” in a very dramatic way that would indicate to anyone unlucky enough to have heard me that I had personally prevailed in some sort of Herculean battle of the mind and body. It was a little much, but dammit if I wasn’t excited.
So, what’s next? I think this is a good indication of where the next month will take us and I’m hopeful that this project can now get physically underway. Of course, there are still several obstacles and, of course, it could be blocked for a number of reasons. But. But. But, I’m still taking this as very good news. And if this project is even half as awesome as I think it will be, that assessor who asked me, “Did you look at any other houses?” will be singing a different tune. Well, maybe not, but I will be.
*Don’t get me started on Judge Doyle Square. Actually, you can if you want because I really have no idea what to think about the whole thing and that’s about the extent of my ability to talk about it. Do we need another hotel? No clue. Do we need parking? Yeah, probably. Would it be cool to have more retail kitty-corner from my office? Well, duh. Sounds awfully expensive, though. I’m just glad I don’t need to make a decision on the ultimate plan. Sometimes I realize those poor Council members aren’t really paid enough.