State agency says online FAQ sufficient vehicle for communicating with neighborhood over project
The demolition of the State of Wisconsin’s now closed Central Services Facility along the Yahara River to make way for a new State archives building is proceeding despite deep community concerns over that process and a lack of communication from the Department of Administration (DOA), which is in charge of the project.
The DOA had been holding community members and state legislators at arms length all summer over concerns about harmful chemicals and materials at the 100 year-old industrial site and what might be released during the demolition.
Despite a productive meeting two weeks ago between the DOA and area legislators Senator Fred Risser and Representative Chris Taylor, the State is refusing to hold a community meeting to answer resident’s questions about the project. Instead, DOA posted an FAQ on it’s website, claiming it provides sufficient information and thus precludes the need for a public meeting.
“It’s too bad they are not taking the community’s input into account, no one is saying to shut the project down, but we want to make sure this project is safe and that this project doesn’t endanger our environment and our public health, ” Taylor told Willy Street blog. “And they’re just not giving the community an opportunity to hear from the project manager and the contractor that they are doing a lot of things right.
Weather part of great music booking and mix of vendors and events
The sun and clear skies were two of the stars of the 2015 Willy Street Fair.
Every Willy Street Fair seems like the best, but this one felt extra special. After monsoonal rains pelted southern Wisconsin right up until the early morning hours of Saturday the sky was flawless for the next forty hours.
The weather brought out the crowds and fair organizers Common Wealth Development and Wil-Mar Center presented a smartly programmed event with each music stage featuring great acts without an overloaded schedule.
After high energy world music all afternoon on the Main Stage Saturday, the partnership with the Madison World Music Festival paid off with the Ester Rada, the day’s final performance. Her soaring vocals and funky backing band delighted the crowd which filled Plan B’s parking lot.
At the same time, magic was happening on Brearly Street as Colombian EDM duo Mitu made their Midwestern Debut with style providing transfixing beats that had the crowd pulsating to their music featuring mixers and live percussion.
Dry temperate weather on tap for final festival of the season
The Willy Street Fair is this weekend, September 19-20 2015.
It has been a fantastic summer for neighborhood celebrations in Willyland. Waterfront, La Fête de Marquette, Orton were solid as ever along with some sophomores like Yum Yum Fest and Central Park Sessions. Creating addition buzz was Africa Fest and the opening of the new Goodman Skate Park in Central Park.
Our new park on Wilson street is really coming into it’s own, but it’s appropriate to bring the fun back to Willy Street for one last weekend of summer fun, music, food and celebration of our great neighborhood.
We have had some challenges this year too. The death of Tony Robinson only a half-block from where this year’s fair will take place has highlighted the work both police our city have to do to be more inclusive to our minority communities. Yes even the open arms of the Marquette neighborhood still has some things to learn.
Our funky neighborhood is also dealing with other crime such as the terrible sexual assault last weekend on the Capitol City Trail bike path and questions of how development should proceed along this street that still has many residential buildings.
DOA meets with lawmakers after quiet bidding process and unresponsiveness
The former Central Services Facility is being demolished for a new State archives preservation and storage building. Residents are concerned the demolition spread toxins that exist from 100 years of industrial activity on the site.
Marquette neighborhood residents are alarmed about the impending demolition of a state storage building at 202 South Thornton Avenue, the former State of Wisconsin Central Services Facility. The 100 year-old building served as a foundry, munitions plant, manufactured appliances, housed a printing press and served as a service facility for the state’s vehicle fleet.
Neighbors, environmental groups and now local, state and federal legislative officials are concerned the Department of Administration’s (DOA) current Environmental Assessment (EA) far underestimates exactly what types and the amounts of toxins such as PCBs, PCEs, PAHs and other heavy metals remain on the site or have seeped into the ground. There is further worry that the State’s plan to contain those contaminates during demolition is woefully inadequate.
In it’s place, a four-story $46.7 Million state of the art archive preservation and storage facility will be constructed on the site along the Yahara River, for the Wisconsin State Historical Society and Veterans Museum.
The project, approved in 2013, will include greenspace and Native American ceremonial grounds which are planned for the Yahara frontage. In the future, more expansion could happen to land not in the building’s footprint on the Dickinson Street side which for now will be landscaped.
Will we embrace the difficult change required to prevent future assaults?
Following the brutal sexual assault and attempted homicide early Saturday (September 12) of a woman along the heavily trafficked Capital City Trail bike path, the neighborhood has been organizing ways to respond.
The Marquette Neighborhood Association is planning extensive discussions of the incident at it’s Board meeting on Thursday and hopes to outline some possible solutions and strategies to forward to City leaders.
Along with that effort will be the first outward community response, a march along the bike path from Mickey’s at 7 p.m Thursday to Livingston Street where the assault occurred.
Over 1300 people have responded to the Take Back the Bike Path Event’s Facebook page but how do we move from this outrage to lasting, sustainable action? How do we move from safer walking at night tips, better lighting and mace to no rape at all?
Fortunately, at least in the immediate area, the Internet discussion following the incident on Saturday has skewed toward new thinking about how to prevent rape. Acknowledging the basic premise that one human can rape another, the majority of sexual assaults are men against women, with acquaintance rape being the most prevalent.
We don’t know the age/background/education of Saturday’s assailant. We often talk about sexual assault at schools because that is where young people are concentrated the most. But rape happens everywhere and at all ages and it starts with the culture we all accept or allow to be acceptable…current male culture and privilege.