Winter Solstice celebration at Olbrich only missing pretty snow cover
The Winter Solstice bonfire, part of a twice annual Solstice celebration held at Olbrich Park on December 22, 2015.
The Solstice is one of the more accessible and life affirming holidays celebrated in Madison and it occurs twice a year! Centered around the astronomical cycles of the sun and the earth, the Solstice is a recognition and reaffirmation of our connection to Mother Earth.
The history of the Solstice reminds us that it is not a single deity or a collection of them that truly drives our existence; it is the natural rhythms of the earth that shaped humanity over time. This recognition is very popular in Madison with many Solstice celebrations held around the city.
Our northern city endures the ravages of winter and the tradition of a bonfire is attractive to our residents as, like in pre-Christian times, it signifies the return of heat and light from the sun after it has spent six months retreating from us.
McGrath Property Group proposes lofts and a new 5-story building along bike path
The McGrath Property Group is trying where The Baldwin Group has failed, to redevelop on the north side of the 700 block of Willy Street. In a letter sent to District 6 Alder Marsha Rummel, McGRath Principal Lance McGrath said that his company has accepted an offer to purchase 714-722 Williamson Street which includes the Morris Paper/Olds Seed building and the adjacent parking lot.
McGrath plans to turn the Olds building into 40-50 “Concrete Lofts” featuring 11-foot ceilings, exposed duct work and brick walls along with large windows; all the features which McGrath says will be unique to Madison. The first floor will likely feature commercial/retail use and they plan to add one or two levels to the building in pursuit of the loft concept.
In addition conversion of the current structure, McGrath proposes to build a five-story building running east-west abutting the Capital City Trail bike path on the north side of the current parking lot. This building will feature 80-90 units with parking at the ground floor and one level underground.
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.
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.
If you like it here, this is how you can/should help: JOIN MNA
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.
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.
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.”