Alder David Ahrens
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Ahrens’ Updates
June Update: District 15
They're baaacck! I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill zombies and ghosts. I'm talking about Developers with Their Hands Out! Unlike other developers who use their own money and bank loans, these guys want a very low interest loan from the city, a pass on paying property taxes and other favorable terms.
Previous proposals for a city subsidy for building a hotel at the "Judge Doyle Square" were rejected by the Council because of its $40 million price tag.
Now the same developer has proposed a smaller hotel, a big office building for a company with a single product, a very high-end food court, health club, conference center, etc .along with 1500 parking spaces. (About 600 of those spaces will replace the 55 year-old Government East parking garage.)
The developer wants the city to pay about $60 million, throw in some very valuable municipal property for a fraction of its real price and lease the parking spaces that we build to the company for 20 cents per day.
What does the city get? Potentially, some high paying jobs. That is, if the company's single product is successful and if a better product doesn't come along. Or if the company isn't sold and moved. This would leave the city with 350,000 sq. ft of office space and an extra 900 parking spaces.
Of course, it may work out great with lots of jobs, big buildings and an increase in the tax base. However, there are also very big risks totaling tens of millions of the dollars to the city, school district and county. This is a very complicated deal that requires answers that may not be immediately available. Unfortunately, the Developer says it's either a deal in 60 days or nothing.
What should the City Council do?
Ridgeway Neighborhood PDQ: You've probably heard that the landmark restaurant, the Prime Quarter on East Wash is closing. PDQ Stores is proposing to build a new store on part of the property. (They anticipate to soon close the PDQ on Stoughton and Anderson.) About 30 neighbors attended a meeting with representatives of PDQ and city staff to review the project.
The somewhat heated discussion focused on many of the problems that often accompany a "convenience store." First, their very purpose requires that they attract a lot of traffic. This traffic consists not only drivers filling up on gas and/or coffee but numerous truck deliveries of the same. Second, its open 24/7. That means that lights are on and people are coming and going all of the time. Third, it has two car washes which can be incredibly noisy. Fourth, its side street entry will require trucks to drive into the residential neighborhood behind East Wash.
PDQ representatives heard these concerns and said that they would modify the proposal to dim the lights, quiet, the car wash, etc. We expect to meet again next month before the permit goes to the Plan Commission.
Jana/ Thompson Community meeting: Resident of the Jana Lane/Thompson area will meet to discuss community concerns and how we can work together to address these issues. The meeting will be held at the Streets East Garage on Sycamore Ave. on Wednesday, June 17 at 6:30. Staff from the Police Dept, Traffic and the Mayor's Office will also join us.
News from Recycling: A few years ago, Madison required a fee to pick up mattresses and box springs. That fee has now been eliminated. Mattresses and box springs will now be picked up without a fee on your regular trash-only day.
What do you do with all those plastic plant pots? Take them to the Badger Road and Sycamore Ave recycling centers. Wash them out and they can be used to make more plastic pots that you can use next year.
Water Quality Report: The Water Utility Board has released the annual Report on water quality. It has also information on billing and links to specific information on the water quality of the well serving your area.
I hope you're able to enjoy the good weather as we transition from spring to summer.
Let me know if you have any concerns, comments on city issues.
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