Gehbardt Proposal Selected for Block 800

Neighborhood leader calls plan a “Home Run” as grocery store closer to reality

The 800 North Block East Washington Avenue Committee has unanimously voted to recommend that a proposal submitted by Gebhardt Development be built on the city-owned parcel of land next to Reynolds Park. The $63.7 million proposal features 48,000 square feet of commercial space, 262 residential units and a 50,000 square-foot Metcalfe’s grocery store which has been long-desired by the neighborhood.

In addition to approving the proposal, the committee added six additional recommendations as City Staff move on to the negotiating phase with Gebhardt. The recommendations expand on the sustainability aspects of Gebhardt’s design that was already highly advanced. The committee also set guidelines for housing affordability as well as a call for union-neutral commercial tenants.

Continue reading

Risser, Taylor, and Rummel to host Listening Session

(L to R: Marsha Rummel, Fred Risser, Chris Taylor)

(L to R: Marsha Rummel, Fred Risser, Chris Taylor)

Representatives from state and local government will hold a listening session in the Marquette neighborhood Monday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, 953 Jenifer Street.

Wisconsin State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison), Wisconsin State Represenative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and District 6 Alder Marsha Rummel will host the session which is an open format to hear concerns on any policy matter neighbors feel are important. No advance registration is needed.

Washing Machine Sparks Fire on Baldwin Street

Smoke streams from the second floor apartment of 420 south Baldwin Street. No one was hurt in the fire which was started by a washing machine.

Smoke streams from the second floor apartment of 420 South Baldwin Street. No one was hurt in the fire which was started by a washing machine.

Six residents and their three pets are safe after a washing machine caught fire in a second floor laundry room at 420 South Baldwin Street Saturday night. Units from fire stations 1, 3 and 4 were called to the property on the corner of Baldwin and Jenifer just before 10 p.m which caused $125,000 in damage.

Smoke was observed pouring from a second-floor window on the Jenifer street side of the house but firefighters had the fire under control quickly and no flames were observed from the street level. Venting of the residence with fans began soon after as smoke from the fire could be smelled as far away as Jolly Bob’s.  Continue reading

Nostalgia or Sizzle for Block 800

A deep read on the three proposals looking to remake the Don Miller site

The 800 Block of East Washington Avenue looking east towards Breese Stevens Field. Developers were required to consider how the stadium would tie into their site designs.

The north 800 Block of East Washington Avenue looking east towards Breese Stevens Field. The City is attempting to create an impressive gateway corridor just east of the Capitol while encouraging developments that blend sensible residential and commercial uses  for area residents. Photo by: Jamie Grunniwaldt

The quest to revive the moribund Capitol East corridor has been restarted on the City-owned 800 block of East Washington Avenue as three new proposals are under consideration.  The City was negotiating last year with Urban Land Interests to build mixed-use commercial and residential buildings featuring high-tech tenants but talks centering on public financing of a parking ramp broke down and the proposal was withdrawn.

The failed first attempt at developing the site was a sigh of relief to many residents of the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood, and to a certain extent those in the Marquette neighborhood, who were excited about a late (but not considered) proposal by Metcalfe’s Market for a mixed-used development including a grocer, hotel, and apartments. As the 800 North Block East Washington Avenue Committee prepares to consider submissions from T. Wall Enterprises, C.D. Smith, and Gebhardt Development one proposal is emerging as a clear favorite.  Continue reading

Willy Kids Listserv Hopes to Connect Neighborhood Families

Neighborhood resident Melody Niwot has begun an online email listserv called Willy Kids to help connect families with young children in the neighborhood.  The email group is intended to serve families with young children in the Wil-Mar and Atwood Neighborhoods, facilitating community and allowing families to share resources and information. Continue reading

Budget Cuts Could Sink B.B. Clarke Swimming Platform

Quality-of-life, big city priorities clash during budget process

B. B. Clarke Beach circa 1951. An early version of the diving platform can be seen. Later version paralleled the shore and were located approximately 150 yards off shore.

As the Madison Mayor Paul Soglin prepared his budget for the coming fiscal year he asked all departments to make a five percent cut in their operational budgets. At the Parks Department they arrived at those cuts in part by eliminating and consolidating some very popular services in some parks; specifically the elimination of nine seasonal ice rinks and focusing lifeguard services at regional beaches.

In a city known for year-round recreation probably the most sacred of activities is ice skating and swimming. It is almost a cruel irony that a community whose water-borne identity is intrinsic should have to cut back on this celebrated quality-of-life benefit.  Continue reading

Willy Street Fair 2012 – Sunday

Fantastic parade kicks off great final day at the Fair

The parade ends with a impromptu street party, the Bubbleman himself, Jim Wildeman can’t help but grin.

I heard it from several people over and over again that the 2012 Willy Street Fair was probably the best in a long time, if not ever. The weather, enthusiasm, and proud traditions combined for a second day as thousands appeared on three blocks of Willy Street to take in music, food, entertainment, and a large amount of vendors.

Almost everyone was raving about the parade, led by the Bubblemobile, that was lively and the probably the largest ever. After the parade had made a lap through the neighborhood it was time for the stretch run down Willy and its traditional finish in the middle of the 900 block; where both parade participants and viewers danced under the balloon banner for an extended period of time.

Continue reading

Willy Street Fair 2012 – Saturday

You really missed a great Saturday on Willy Street, parade today

As the sun sets the crowd sways to the music of St. Lucia-based Taj Weekes. Photo by: Thomas Balistreri

While its the people that make the Willy Street Fair so great, the weather was a close second. With a temperature near eighty degrees, thousands came to Willy Street on Saturday (September 15) for Day One of the Fair. Food, drink, and music filled the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street. The Main, Folk, and Electronic stages were in action with day-long line ups.  Continue reading

Willy Street Fair is Here!

Final summer celebration is this Saturday and Sunday

The Willy Street Fair Parade, circa 1985. An earlier incarnation of Jim Wildeman’s Bubblemobile still retains the iconic bubble smokestacks. The author is pedaling furiously in a homemade pedal car. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot.

It is simply the best neighborhood festival in the City of Madison, and as far as I’m concerned the best festival ever. I’m a little biased having grown up with the Willy Street Fair (September 15-16) in my backyard, but i’m sure all will agree this weekend’s event is the best expression of what it means to live, work, and play in the Marquette neighborhood.

We have arrived at the end of a great summer for festivals in the Marquette neighborhood despite the wish for a little more rain and less heat. The weather for this weekend will be sunny and in the mid-70s which will bring throngs of people to the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street.

Continue reading

Gallery: FruitFest 2012

Fruit Fest, Madison’s LGBTQI Summer Music Festival, was held on June 16, 2012 in the parking lot of the Plan B night club in the 900 block of Williamson Street. The Marquette Neighborhood and its surroundings boast a large number of  LGBTQA residents which just adds to the fun, eclectic, and diverse pedigree of the area.

This year’s music was headlined by Cazwell, but also featured folk musicians, punk bands, DJs and of course, drag queens. The festival has grown in the recent years it has been around and now includes a 5K run called the Fruit Loop, Star Fruit Idol Karaoke contest, and the 1st Annual Summer Camp Bingo AIDS fundraiser.