Alder David Ahrens
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
Alder Ahrens’ Updates
Pinney Library, Gun Violence, June Meetings
It appears that the City and RDC have reached an agreement on a Letter of Intent to construct the new Pinney Library! The city has hired the architecture/engineering firm, OPN, that designed the Central Library.
More information to follow in the weeks to come.
Every day brings news of "shots fired." In most instances, they land harmlessly. But all too often they result in serious injury and death. Just in the last week, one person was shot at the PDQ on East Wash and this week, another person was shot next door at the Visions nightclub.
It is no comfort that most of shooters and victims know each other and that the gunfire is only the latest- but probably not the last- part of an ongoing feud. Certainly, these individuals do not "deserve" to be shot. Innocents have also been killed; such as the niece of my colleague, Alder Samba Baldeh, who was killed while taking care of disabled adults.
The question we are struggling with is, "What can the city (realistically) do to prevent this new and increased turn of violence?" In the short term, I don't think there is much to be done that could immediately stop these incidents. Ten or twenty or even fifty more police won't stop a gang member from shooting another gang member.
Additional police, however, can be deployed to these shootings and at the same time maintain adequate police services to the remainder of the community. Currently, when a shooting occurs all of the available police who are available report to the site. This leaves police available only for high priority calls.
Services such as peer-mentoring, re-entry for incarcerated individuals, etc. may reduce violence in the long-term but it will not have much of an effect next week or next month. The city's ability to fund many social service programs is also quite limited and will be stretched in the years to come. The budget discussed at the federal level will create even greater needs for the 15-20% of the city's poor residents.
Regardless of how many programs are put into place, the fact remains that we have many guns that are very inexpensive and readily available. The potential toll of assailants as they wildly "shoot up" everything in the vicinity of their target has the potential for producing a terrible toll as well as creating a climate of fear.
Cap East Garage:
Over the next year or so, the intersection of East Wash and Blount St. will be redeveloped to include an office building for American Family Insurance, new apartments and an entertainment venue for 2,500 patrons. The commuters, the residents, and concert-goers will need a garage for their hundreds of cars.
Usually, when private entities construct these projects, the developer pays constructs a parking facility. In this case, however, the city decided to build a "public" parking garage. I put the public in quotes because although the city will build and own the structure we will lease nearly the entire site to American Family Insurance and the developer, who also is the owner of the apartment towers on East Wash, Gephardt Inc.
This might make fiscal sense if we were making enough money to support the structure and create a reserve for future projects. Instead, we are charging rock-bottom prices to users who can afford to pay the same prices we charge everyone else. For example, the Parking Utility charges individuals who park the same distance from the Square as this new garage, called "Cap East", $115/month. However, in the new ramp, American Family will pay only $58/month. And that rate is frozen for five years!
In the two years since the Cap East garage was proposed, the cost estimate has risen from $13 million to over $18 million. I am pretty sure that by the time this 652-space garage is completed, it will cost us $20 million. I say, "us" because anyone who uses a public ramp is providing a subsidy to these very wealthy corporations through ever-higher fees.
To make matters worse, the THIRTY-year agreement with these companies, allows them to sub-lease the spaces to others at any fee they can get. Gephardt Inc. now charges his tenants who live in the high-rises $110/month for parking. Either Gephardt or American Family can then sub-lease those spaces at the real cost of parking.
Other provisions in the contracts between the city and the developers are also questionable. But the most negative aspect of the project is in the agreement for the city's purchase of the land from MGE to build the parking garage. I'll discuss that in next month's blog.
This being the start of summer, we have lots of meetings and events coming up.
Free Stuff at the Opening of the Water Operations Center!
On Saturday, June 3rd from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the doors of the newly-rebuilt Paterson St. Water Utility Operations Center will be open to the public. This will also be Madison Water Utility's 135th anniversary. The event will include:
· High-Efficiency showerhead giveaway!
Tours of the facility including the big trucks and heavy equipment.
· Historic photos, design drawings and the remains of 1882 water mains.
· Water main tapping demonstrations
· Free water bottles.
· Water Wagon
Community Meeting on Buckeye Rd Project:
You are invited to attend the second public involvement meeting for the reconstruction of Buckeye Road. The project extends approximately 4,100 feet along Buckeye Road from Monona Drive to Stoughton Road.
The meeting will take place at the Frank Allis Elementary School, 4201 Buckeye Road, 53716, from 6:30 to 8 P.M. on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in the school cafeteria. The meeting will be conducted in an informal, open house format to allow for dialogue and individual questions and comments. A brief presentation will be given at 6:45 P.M. The city of Madison and design consultant representatives will be available to discuss the proposed project and the revisions made since the first public involvement meeting held last year. This will also be an opportunity to discuss residents' anticipated right of way needs and acquisition schedule, proposed construction schedule and access during construction.
No Trash Pick-up on Memorial Day:
There will be no refuse or recycling collection on Monday, May 29th in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. The yard waste drop-off sites will also be closed on Monday.
Madison residents who normally have their refuse and recycling collected on Mondays should instead place their carts at the curb for collection by 7 am on Tuesday, May 30. Only residents within the Monday district will have their collection of refuse and recycling delayed due to the holiday. Refuse and recycling for the Tuesday district will also be collected on May 30.
Public meeting on the Cottage Grove Road Activity Centers Plan!
Date: Monday, July 10, 2017
Location: Large "Commons" Community Room at Olbrich Gardens
City Planning staff has been working to consider all of the input received from our two public meetings, online surveys, business roundtables, neighborhood association comments, stakeholder interviews, as well as the individual contacts received from the community.
This meeting will offer an opportunity to voice your opinions on the draft goals, recommendations on the future of the Acewood Ave. and Monona Dr. commercial centers as it relates to the following:
Transportation – bicycle, pedestrian and transit improvements.
Economic Development – supporting local businesses and encouraging neighborhood supporting commercial uses.
Land Use – use, height and design standards for any proposed new development.
Placemaking – open space uses and opportunities for community engagement.
Community Purchase of Solar
Come learn more about solar energy and the group buy program!
All sessions are free and open to the public. RSVP for any information session by emailing MadiSUN@renewwisconsin.org.
Goodman Community Center
Tuesday June 6th at 6pm
149 Waubesa St, Madison, WI
Merrill Lynch Room
Please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns or questions in regard to city services or policies. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 334-1156.
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