Statement from Mayor Dave Cieslewicz regarding Overture Debt Resolution Agreement

June 23, 2010

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz released the following statement today regarding the agreement to resolve the Overture Center's debt.

"This agreement accomplishes the goal I set out from the start: no taxpayer liability for the remaining debt. Without this agreement, Madison taxpayers could have been on the hook for up to $5.8 million. Now, thanks again to donors led by Jerry Frautschi, the slate has been wiped clean. And we can move forward on securing a stable future for this important community asset.

"Overture means jobs, tax base, and economic development. It brings 600,000 people to downtown Madison every year and generates about $22 million in economic activity. But Overture is also an important ingredient in the life of our community. People from all walks of life and all parts of our region come here to enjoy the arts and to meet one another. Beyond the measurable and very real economic benefits, there are community benefits that can't be counted.

"So, I want to thank Jerry Frautschi, Tom Carto, Linda Baldwin, Joe Sensenbrenner, Dierdre Garton, the representatives of the banks and so many others for making this agreement happen. You have all done something that will be remembered as a turning point in the history of Madison.

"Now I need to get to work with my colleagues on the City Council and others in our community to take the next step. This agreement is based on the idea that the city would take ownership of the building while a new nonprofit would run it. We will take the rest of the summer to work out the details of that relationship. A resolution outlining the city's basic negotiating position will be introduced to the Council at its next meeting. Detailed negotiations will key off that document with a final agreement coming to the Council sometime this fall.

"Jerry Frautschi gave Madison a great gift. He now has acted again to give it a fresh start. The responsible thing is for those of us in the community who benefit from Overture to care for it into the future."

Contact:
  • Rachel Strauch-Nelson, (608) 266-4611