May 19, 2010 7:42 AM
The Edgewater hotel project was approved this morning by the Madison Common Council. After about seven hours of public testimony the Council spent another four hours or so working its way through five separate issues. The upshot of these votes is that the Edgewater approvals have been granted, and the project can go forward.
The developer, Bob Dunn, has been clear that he now needs to go back to his investors and reassemble financing for his project. He has said that he believes that can be done.
It has been a long road, but this is an outcome the significance of which is hard to overstate. That's true on a number of levels, but the best part for me is that hundreds of construction workers can now look forward to lots of work on the way. At a time when overall unemployment here is twice the normal rate, unemployment in the construction trades far outpaces that figure. In some trades, one out of three workers is currently unemployed.
When we add this to the movement forward on the Central Library and the rapid movement on the Monona Terrace high speed rail station, there's reason for even more optimism for workers. Simply put, the Common Council is putting people to work in family-supporting jobs just when they need them the most.
We stayed up late enough to eat breakfast (almost brunch actually), but we worked all night to put hundreds of men and women to work for years. It was worth it.