Galaxie Groundbreaking Celebrates Robust Planning Process

Enthusiasm reigned at event launching long anticipated Cap East development

Key project proponents prepare to ceremoniously initiate the building of The Galaxie. (l to r) Festival Food CEO Mark Skogen, District Six Alder Marsha Rummel, Patrick Stevens, WI DNR, former District Two Alder Bridget Maniaci, Steven Cover, City of Madison Director of Planning, Community, and Economic Development, District Two Alder Ledell Zellers,  Unidentified child, City Of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, Otto Gebhardt Development President Otto Gebhardt III, Architect Chris Gosch of Bark Design.

/a> Key project proponents prepare to ceremoniously initiate the building of The Galaxie. (l to r) Festival Food CEO Mark Skogen, District Six Alder Marsha Rummel, WI DNR Administrator Patrick Stevens, former District Two Alder Bridget Maniaci, City of Madison Director of Planning, Community, and Economic Development Steven Cover, District Two Alder Ledell Zellers, Unidentified child, City Of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, Gebhardt Development President Otto Gebhardt III, Architect Chris Gosch of Bark Design.

In 2013, Gebhardt development won the chance to start from scratch and transform an entire downtown city block; but there were lots of requirements.

The Tenney-Lapham and Marquette neighborhoods yearned for a full-service grocery store. The City of Madison has been clamboring to jump start redevelopment and create a gleaming gateway to downtown and developers have seen great potential for the area.

Tuesday’s groundbreaking event (September 16) marked the beginning of The Galaxie development that will remake the 800 block of East Washington Avenue. The gathering was infused with a heightened energy level because many of the participants that worked on the planning of the project felt that they had finally gotten it right.

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CommuniTree Vandalized by Cowardly Art Critic(s)

Graffiti mark applied to tree was pathetic attempt at protest

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Courtesy: Caffeinated Politics.

The iron tree sculpture that welcomes those traveling eastbound on Williamson to the neighborhood was dedicated Friday (September 12) in a ceremony at Bandung restaurant due to rain.

Named the CommuniTree, the 32-foot tall sculpture stands in the median of Willy street adjacent to Machinery Row and the Gateway Shopping Center.

The tree was erected on August 3, garnering some praise and some comments of disdain; such as describing the tree as akin to a toilet brush, according to the Caffeinated Politics Blog.

In the days before it was dedicated last Friday, someone or several painted a yellow dot on the side of the tree. The dot was likely meant to mimic the City of Madison’s method for identifying trees that need to be removed due to the Emerald Ash Borer.

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Willy Street Fair 2014 Pics & Vids

37th annual Fair bathed in sun and good cheer

The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.

The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.

It was a cloudy start to Sunday but even Mother Nature sensed today was special and the sun emerged as the Willy Street Fair Parade prepared to launch. As it circled through the nine block route in the Marquette neighborhood, the phalanx of fun proved to be one of the largest by way of participants.

Three marching bands at the beginning, middle and end, punctuated appearances by the familiar: stilt walkers, Hoopelation, the circus wheel and the Forward Marching Band; along with new entrants like the Madison Circus Space and the Mustache Beard Wearers Union: Local 608.

Down on Willy Street the thoroughfare filled quickly as temperatures in the middle 60s and possibly a late-afternoon Green Bay Packer kickoff brought people out early. Over 150 vendors filled the curb spaces and the larger presence was notable. The food offerings were diverse and plentiful but the retail booths did not break much new ground.

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The Grand Ceremony of Them All

37th Annual Willy Street Fair to give us one last great summer weekend

Poster by: David Micheal Miller

Poster by: David Micheal Miller

The final festival of the summer is here and just in time as fall stares at us all from off stage. The Willy Street Fair (September 13-14) is this weekend, heralding the end of a great season of celebrations within the neighborhood.

For 37 years we have gathered along several blocks of Williamson to recognize many things; but mostly the spirit of neighborhood togetherness, action and culture. While the event is a fundraiser for both Common Wealth Development and the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, organizer Gary Kallas says the community aspect of the fair has always come first.

“It’s more about community building, it’s more about bringing people together,” said Kallas who is Wil-Mar’s executive director. “I like to think of this as sort of secular spiritualism and it culminates the summer, the Willy Street Fair, with the grand, grand ceremony of em all the Parade on Sunday at 11 a.m.”

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Gallery: Yum Yum Fest 2014

 

The first annual Yum Yum Fest held forth in the newly opened Central Park as members of the Madison Area Chefs Network offered their most creative dishes to attendees. The event was created to highlight the strong connection many Madison restaurants have with local food vendors.

Along with the food were four strong musical acts to entertain the throng on a glorious late summer Sunday afternoon.

 

Greenspace Possibly Returning to Willy Street

Neighborhood examines dearth of open space and benefits of demolition

1018 Williamson  may be demolished and turned into greenspace.

1018 Williamson may be demolished and turned into greenspace.

Petinary owner Dr. Mike Kohn has has applied for a demolition permit for 1018 Williamson Street, a circa 1895  home that has not been occupied since he purchased it in 1992. The application will be discussed at the Marquette Neighborhood Association Preservation & Development meeting Tuesday September 9 at 5:30 p.m.

In the application, Jim Glueck, of Glueck Architects who represents Kohn, outlined several seemingly fatal flaws with the building that render it unusable an impractical for restoration. Glueck noted in the application and also confirmed to Willy Street Blog that the site will be restored to greenspace with no further plans to develop.

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Yum Yum Fest Celebrates Local Food Producers

Madison chefs to serve creative dishes, share skills

Courtesy: Yum Yum Fest 2014

Courtesy: Yum Yum Fest 2014

Some may think Madison is one of the snobbiest cities in the land, but there is one thing we won’t apologize for: the festivals. This city packs an incredible amount of these celebrations in our small window of temperature appropriate weather each year. One more event has been added to the summer lineup with tomorrow’s Yum Yum Fest in Central Park.

Created by the newly formed Madison Area Chefs Network; the festival will highlight the incredible, and nationally recognized, dining options that have emerged here in Madison and their kitchen leaders who have committed to sourcing much of their food locally.

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Galaxie Groundbreaking Set for Sept 16

55,000 square foot Festival Foods store hopes to open  by summer of 2015

The next phase of progress in the Capital East District will begin ceremonially on September 16 as city leaders and developers will break ground on the $90 million Galaxie, a 14-story 670,000 square foot mixed-use development that will transform the 800 block on the north side of East Washington Avenue.

It is almost a shame that this space will be disrupted since a lovely carpet of green grass has grown over the former Don Miller site following a soil remediation project. But it seems to be a worthwhile disruption as the new complex will address many of the goals of the City of Madison, the adjoining neighborhoods, and the growing demand for housing in the city core.

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Gallery: Orton Park Festival 2014

Event draws rave reviews under new management

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Lydia Loveless plays a late afternoon set at the 49th Orton Park Festival.

The Orton Park Festival was the same as just about every other year and to many that was just fine. After many wonderful years under the management of a few dedicated volunteers, the Marquette Neighborhood Association has spread out the roles in the past two years and guess what?

No one noticed, and that is a good thing.

From the music, to the food, to the activities, the festival was a familiar, comfortable and felt a bit more like the original picnic that started it all nearly five decades ago. While much did not change, at least one change did stand out a bit, the music did end much earlier but no one seemed to mind.

The subtle changes will have their own review when the fundraising receipts are tallied; but we have tallied images that show that many had a great time, which is by far the most important benchmark.

Orton Park Festival 2014

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Lydia Loveless plays for nearly 700 people at the Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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First known as the MNA picnic, the Orton Park Festival has always been about the joy of children. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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Lydia Loveless. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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Lydia Loveless. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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Unbilled musicians sing near the main stage. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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The local boy scout troop runs the kids games and bingo each year. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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The local boy scout troop runs the kids games and bingo each year. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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This young man is nearing the joyous moment of a bingo. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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The Dirty Dozen Brass Band filled the park during the Saturday session of the Orton Park Festival.
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Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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Lydia Loveless serenades the entire family at the Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014.
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Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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The craft bazaar is a constant at the neighborhood festivals. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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Friends of Orton Park worked with Madison Parks to convert a victim of the June tornado into a natural play structure that children quickly adopted. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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The festival is a fundraiser for the Marquette Neighborhood Association, which began just a few years after the first Orton Park Festival. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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The most used form of transportation to the neighborhood summer festivals is bicycles. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014
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A near Eastside festival would settle for nothing less than nearly complete recycling compliance from attendees. Orton Park Festival, August 24, 2014

 

Related: Orton Fest to Celebrate Survival

Orton Fest to Celebrate Survival

Park continues to triumph over tornados, boulevards and development

Anders Osborn during last year's Orton Park Festival.

Anders Osborn during the 2012 Orton Park Festival.

In its long history, Orton Park has had to survive many threats. In 1924 the City of Madison proposed a boulevard with a 12-foot median that would bisect the park. Proponents argued this would improve traffic flow from King Street to the Eastside following the recently opened Rutledge Street bridge across the Yahara. It seems that this route had become a very popular artery for “far” Eastsiders who wanted to avoid railroad crossings at Williamson Street and Atwood Avenue.

The opposition to that project ninety years ago echoes the same reasons why today’s residents guard the tranquility of Madison’s oldest park: its too popular with children. The festival, begun in the middle 1960s, is in its 49th year and grew out of general neighborhood organizing against various development schemes and for neighborhood strength and cohesion.

In the last days of spring, despite rabid stewardship over the years by park lovers including the Friends of Orton Park, Mother Nature also attempted to remake the land when an EF-1 tornado barreled through the Marquette neighborhood early on June 17. While some trees were lost, the park never lost face with even the fallen trees repurposed in a resourceful way.

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