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.
East High football home games return to Breese Stevens Field after 41 year hiatus
On a pleasant Saturday evening earlier this month the Madison East High School football team was warming up on the gleaming year-old artificial turf of Breese Stevens Field. It was a first look not only for the players, but the coaches, boosters and fans as East has not had it’s own home field since it played it’s last home game in 1974.
For Quarterback Ruben Arndt, the lines on the field and the dimensions may be the same from last year when East played at Lussier Stadium, but this year will be different because the Purgolders are coming home when they host Madison West, the last team they played in this stadium 41 years ago.
“It’s really special to be back here…for the school. I remember as a kid I’d always go to Lussier [stadium] and watch my brother. It was always fun seeing the team but it never really felt like home…because we were out in front of Lafollette.” Arndt said during a break from drills.
“This really feels like home, right here a couple blocks from the high school and it’s old, it’s dusty and it’s great.”
It was the fall of 1974 and Terry King had hair down to his shoulders, was 18 years old and feeling great as he walked off field at Breese Stevens after defeating West High School 28-21. However it would be the last time East High would play football games at the 4,000-seat stadium until this year when Madison West will return for the home opener on August 28th.
King was reminiscing out loud to the 2015 East High squad Saturday night (August 8) as they prepared to scrimmage for the first time in four decades. This time Terry King wore the hat of an umpire and led a group of referees that would be monitoring the practice game as a warm-up for them and the players. The team will play another scrimmage in Kenosha next week before opening the season across town against Madison Memorial.
Fourth year Coach Steve Erato is excited to be playing at the stadium, a prospect that has been in the works for a year and it gained it’s own momentum as the City of Madison, East High and the community got behind.
Alder Rummel employs defensive strategy to retain Landmarks control over new project after developer appeals earlier demo denial to full Common Council
After being spared several times, the Landmarks Commission has approved it’s demolition. However, the building that is proposed to replace it has not yet been approved.
Just weeks after the house at 906 Williamson appeared to have it’s Lazarus moment, it appears now it will likely be demolished. Last night (July 6) the Landmarks Commission approved the demolition after District Six Alder Marsha Rummel, who serves on Landmarks, requested reconsideration after the Commission denied permission last month.
The Commission voted 3-2 with Chairman Stu Levitan breaking a tie vote along with Rummel Commissioner Jason Fowler. Developer Louis Fortis is seeking to demolish the 1900s era house and build a four story mixed-use building.
According to an email to constituents on the MNA Listserv, Rummel acted at last night’s meeting after the developers indicated they were going to appeal the June 15 denial by Landmarks to the full City Council.
“If the appeal went to the Council, the Council could have overturned the denial of the Certificate of Appropriateness and approved the proposed new construction as presented. The Council would look at the record and the ordinance but the appeal language grants them latitude to consider other factors. I was also concerned about the message to developers if the Council upheld the appeal,” Rummel wrote.
Madison Police SWAT team deployed to 900 block Tuesday afternoon
A Madison Police Assault vehicle takes a position in front of 909 Jenifer Street which was the target of a drug raid, June 16, 2015.
Madison Police executed a search warrant in the 900 block of Jenifer Street yesterday (June 16) just after 12:30 p.m. as part of a investigation into drug activity. Traffic was blocked off for the entire block while members of the Madison Police SWAT team moved in.
Neighbors reported seeing a large military-style vehicle painted in black with Madison Police markings park in front of the home and a public address speaker on the vehicle told the occupants that they [the police] were aware they had guns. Kendall G. Ragland, 36, was arrested during a high risk traffic stop on south Carroll Street and charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor in relation to the investigation.
Madison Police Department says that the raid was the result of a seven month investigation which recovered more than 32 grams of heroin and more than 14 grams of cocaine as well as other evidence but so far there is no information that weapons were found; however the investigation is ongoing.
City bus administrators relent to public pressure regarding noisy turn signals
No more beeps when Madison Metro bus turn signals are on.
Madison Metro gave a heads-up to alders today in an email on a decision to turn off the audible turn signals that have been driving neighborhood residents crazy throughout the city, especially in quiet areas late at night.
Metro had installed the system on it’s buses to increase awareness as the bus was pulling in and out of stops to reduce the chance of collisions. The decision to add the system was partly in response to a fatality several year ago when a turning bus struck a pedestrian on University Avenue.
Allison Smith, who lives near the Edgewater in the Mansion Hill neighborhood and on the #81 bus line started noticing the beeping in January. The #81 has a schedule that runs until 2:20 a.m. on weekdays and 3:20 a.m. on weekends and after living through two years of Edgewater construction she started to research the impacts of noise on health.