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.
37th Annual Willy Street Fair to give us one last great summer weekend
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.”
Masked Ball for adults and kids joins french, cajun and blues music festival
Underground house music DJ Derrick Carter will headline the Masked Ball Saturday at La Fete de Marquette.
La Fête de Marquette, the French-infused neighborhood celebration of music and culture that raises money for the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center is returning to a familiar but much improved place. Central Park was officially opened this year and La Fête will be the first festival to be held after long delayed plans to develop the space as a park were finally realized.
The first two festivals were held to promote the idea of Central Park and were located on the grounds of the current park. For seven years the festival has grown and matured while it dwelled at the corner of Dickinson and Main Streets. This year features a vast and inspired mix of events including one named Big Top, which suggests the return to a larger space is just in time.
Tickets still available at the door for the 22 restaurant extravaganza
The Taste of Willy Street is a local culinary event not to be missed that showcases more than a dozen neighborhood food businesses and includes everything from appetizers to desserts. Due to the popularity of this event, there will be two seatings: 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm. Tickets are now only available at the door and seating is limited, so don’t delay!
The Greater Williamson Area Business Association and Common Wealth Development’s Youth Programs are collaborating to present the 13th annual Taste of Willy Street on Tuesday, May 6 at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, 953 Jenifer Street. This is an annual fundraising event for GWABA that also greatly benefits Common Wealth Development’s Youth Programs.
Event raises fund for two $500 scholarships for East High Students
The 23rd annual Marquette Neighborhood Association’s Chili Dinner to fund scholarships for East High School students is tonight (March 1) at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, 953 Jenifer Street.
A selection of veggie and meat chili , side dishes, desserts and beverages will be served for $10 ($6 for pre-teens) as you enjoy music from The Northwesterns.
This popular event brings out some of the best culinary creations from neighborhood and area restaurants such as Lazy Jane’s, The Weary Traveler, Smokin’ Cantina, Madison Sourdough, Eldorado Grill, The Batch Bakehouse and Monty’s Blue Plate Diner. Additional groceries provided by Jenifer St Market and coffee from Ground Zero will be served beginning at 5 p.m.
The Marquette Neighborhood Peat-Piper Scholarships honor friends Becky Peat and Margaret “Burkie” Piper, who were sophomores at Madison East High School in October 1991, when they were killed as they crossed East Washington Avenue in front of the school.
In the years following the crash the Peat-Piper Memorial Scholarship fund was set up to award $500 each year to graduating Madison East High students that reside in the Marquette neighborhood.
Learn more about the Peat-Piper Memorial Scholarship here
722 developers adjust proposal but neighborhood reaction is still mixed
A revised depiction of 722 Williamson with five stories on Williamson, and seven and nine-story towers at the rear. Courtesy: BDG
Baldwin Development Group (BDG) is determined to build a mixed-use development at 722 Williamson that will honor the Marquette neighborhood planning guidelines and also serve their own commercial interests. However, after Wednesday’s (October 23) meeting with the neighborhood where they presented alternate designs, the way forward is becoming murkier and time is running out.
BDG has met four times with a special Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) subcommittee to tweak the design so that it will fit within the guidelines of the Williamson BUILD Plan II that was adopted in 2004. The chief issue is the height of the project, which currently is proposed at 10 stories, giving some pause while others say this is the best kind of infill development for an underutilized space.
Three design variations to be presented this week at special P&D meeting
MNA’s Preservation & Development Committee will hold their monthly meeting at a special time on Wednesday October 23 to view proposed changes to the 722 Williamson development. The 722 Williamson Subcommittee of P&D has met several times with the project developers, Baldwin Development Group, and committee chairman Bruce Woods reports that BDG will present several changes based on neighborhood input.
MNA committee sends UDC its initial take on proposed development
It is unknown at this point if meetings between a special Marquette Neighborhood Association working group and Baldwin Development Group will yield any changes to a development planned for the 700 block of Williamson Street. The MNA 722 Subcommittee was formed to work through concerns about the project with BDG after the developer signaled it would seek exceptions to building guidelines developed by the neighborhood.
The 722 Williamson Subcommittee, part of MNA’s Preservation & Development Committee, has met several times now with BDG and last week committee chairman Bruce Woods sent a letter to Madison’s Urban Design Commission outlining their initial concerns. The letter gives no indication that BDG was planning any changes based on the discussions. What the letter does do is formalize and organize the varying concerns and plaudits that have been expressed about the design so far. Continue reading →
Subcommittee formed to work with developer to resolve concerns
A view of the north side of the proposed development at 722 Williamson Street.
The one clear fact that emerged from the Marquette Neighborhood Association Preservation & Development Committee (MNA P&D) meeting today (September 18) is that the proposed development at 722 Williamson Street is the first true test of the Williamson Street 600 to 1100 Blocks Better Urban Infill Development (BUILD) Program II plan which was launched 10 years ago.
From the beginning its was apparent the two hours allotted for this monthly meeting would not be enough to deeply discuss the many aspects of the proposal by Baldwin Development Group (BDG) and make a recommendation to the MNA Board that would properly represent the wishes of the neighborhood.
Early on, it was proposed that a subcommittee be formed to meet with BDG on a frequent basis to present the issues raised by the neighborhood and offer guidance as BDG further refines their design in advance of the upcoming City approval processes such as the Urban Design Commission (UDC), which is the next stop for this project.
Marquette neighborhood grapples with proposed development at 722 Willy Street
An architectual rendering of the proposed development “722 Williamson”. Courtesy: Baldwin Development Group
Neighborhood planning covenants are playing into the debate over a large mixed-use development proposed for the 700 block of Williamson Street which would fill in the parking lots between and behind Ground Zero Coffee and the Olds building, possibly reaching ten stories into the air.
Baldwin Development Group wants to build a $46-million retail and housing complex on property owned by Williamson Associates, LLC, an entity of the The Rifkin Group, which also owns three other buildings on the block. The three-tiered design, currently named “722 Williamson”, would feature retail and office space along Williamson with seven- and ten-story apartment towers deeper into the property.
The proposal is drawing mixed reactions from the neighborhood, with some hailing its design and density and others bristling that the towering building exceeds the Williamson Street 600 to 1100 Blocks Better Urban Infill Development (BUILD) Program II plan, which seeks to preserve the historic character of the street. District 6 Alder Marsha Rummel says the development would include approximately 220 apartments, 5,600 square feet of commercial space, 386 parking stalls and co-working space.