Joint Neighborhood Advisory Committee Formed to Press City and Developer on Marling Site

MNA & SASYNA want a say as developer submits formal plans to City

A view of the mixed-used development proposed for the Marling site at 1801 E. Washington Avenue.

A view of the mixed-used development proposed for the Marling site at 1801 E. Washington Avenue.

Talk of redeveloping the Marling Lumber site has existed for over a year, but has found new momentum after a public meeting in September where developers, Campbell Capital Group, LLC., presented their plan to redevelop the site featuring a largely residential mixed-use development.

Late last month Campbell Capital submitted their plan to the City of Madison to build a 230 unit apartment complex with 20,000 square feet of commercial space, mostly on East Washington Avenue. In a Letter of Intent to the City, CCG Founder Micheal J. Campbell proposed the two to four story interconnected buildings would blend in with the neighborhood by presenting welcoming features both along East Washington and the Yahara River.

“A public plaza along the Yahara River connects and integrates the Project and its residents with the surrounding neighborhood. This sense of community, and interaction at the street level, is further enhanced by the exterior entrances to some of the residential units along East Main Street,” Campbell wrote.

One hundred and fifty of the 230 units will be 1-bedroom, 78 are 2-bed, and three will be 3-bed with the average square footage of each unit adding up to 811 square feet. There  will also be three courtyards, an outdoor pool, interior structured parking with 334 spaces and 265 spaces for bicycles.

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Making the Marquette Neighborhood Better Than You Found It

If you like it here, this is how you can/should help: JOIN MNA

The MNA Board during a meeting in March 2014.

The MNA Board during a meeting in March 2014.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) has always been a very active organization but the need for motivated members and leaders is a constant. Our neighborhood, located in the heart of the state capital, is host to many constituencies and their agendas can have stark impacts.

For example, the effects of the demolition of a long-standing industrial building have yet to be fully enumerated and the neighborhood is still trying to get answers from the state.

Additionally, the neighborhood is grappling with development and how to interpret the detailed neighborhood planning that was undertaken only a few years ago. Wounds are still fresh from the shooting of Tony Robinson and the response to a brutal sexual assault on the bike path is just beginning.

The MNA was also instrumental in thwarting an ill-conceived reconstruction of Jenifer Street that would have permanently changed the look and feel of this idyllic yet key transportation artery minor.

If you live here it’s likely that you love the festivals, which are the top four neighborhood events in the city. Our streets, homes and parks makes for destination living. But it took four decades of effort to make it this way and keep it so.

Your neighborhood needs to hear from you through words and engagement.

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DOA Hubris Apparent After Refusing to Hold Public Meeting Over Demolition

State agency says online FAQ sufficient vehicle for communicating with neighborhood over project

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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.

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The Best Fair in Years

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.

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.

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Willy Street Fair is Perfect End of Summer Ritual

Dry temperate weather on tap for final festival of the season

The Willy Street Fair is this weekend, September 19-20 2015.

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.

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Environmental Safeguards Seriously Lacking in Central Services Demolition Plan

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 will spread toxins that exist from 100 years of industrial activity on the site.

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.

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Taking Back Bike Path Starts With Rescinding Rape Culture

Will we embrace the difficult change required to prevent future assaults?

TakeBackTheBP_CWFollowing 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.

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EASTSIDE! EASTSIDE!

East High football home games return to Breese Stevens Field after 41 year hiatus

Scrimmage25On 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.”

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First East High Football Scrimmage at Breese Stevens Field in 40 years

East High Scrimmage - Breese Stevens Field

Friday Night Lights and East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.

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Friday Night Lights and East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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Players listen to the Umpire speak about which actions might draw infractions from the officials as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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A player attempts to haul in a pass during drills as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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Friday Night Lights and East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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A view not seen by East High fans in 40 years as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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This classic walled stadium will host East High football this fall beginning August 28, 2015.
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Friday Night Lights and East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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The tunnel even gets a test run as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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The tunnel even gets a test run as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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Starting Quarterback Rueben Arndt warms with his receivers during drills as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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Datrell Thompson is on JV this year but is already turning heads with his abilities at quarterback and running back. East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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The natural grass surface, in place since the stadium was built in 1927, was replaced with synthetic sports grass to increase durability and increase utilization by athletic teams and other events including concerts like the Avett Brothers who will play a show this October.
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Datrell Thompson prepares to throw a pass during drills as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/east-high-scrimmage-breese-stevens-field/thumbs/thumbs_scrimmage9.jpg]440A new press box was built in 2011 and a new sound system installed in 2014 as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
A new press box was built in 2011 and a new sound system installed in 2014 as East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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East High School Football returns to Breese Stevens Field, absent since 1975, with a scrimmage on August 8, 2015.
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4th Year East High Football Coach Steve Erato talks to his players prior to East High School Football scrimmage at Breese Stevens Field on August 8, 2015.
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Umpire Terry King was on the field for East High in 1974 for the last football game played by East at Breese Stevens Field, which they defeated 28-21.

 

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.

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Demolition By Neglect

Alder Rummel employs defensive strategy to retain Landmarks control over new project after developer appeals earlier demo denial to full Common Council

A four-story mixed-use building is proposed for this site currently occupied by a single family home.

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.

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