City of
Madison

District 13

Alder Tag Evers

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Alder Tag Evers

Contact Information

Home Address:

2329 Keyes Ave
Madison , WI 53711

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Evers’ Blog

District 13 Updates: Cedar Street, COVID-19, last night's epic Council mtg

July 22, 2020 1:35 PM

Hi Everyone,

A lot is going on, so much so I've been remiss in posting updates and sharing my perspective as to our current moment. 

I'll start with the updates and hope to get back to you soon with my evolving take on our challenges.

Cedar Street & Truman Olson

Today at 5 pm at the Transportation Commission meeting, there will be a review of the plans for the new Cedar Street as well the intersection at S. Park and existing Cedar.  This is of primary interest for Bay Creek residents, particularly as it impacts the Truman Olson project and the prospects for the new grocery store.

If you would like to speak, be available to answer questions, or just register in support or opposition you can do so here:

https://www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/meeting-schedule/virtual-meetings/register?meeting-id=48982

Once you register they will be emailed a link to attend the meeting.  (If you intend to register, please do so by 3 PM.)

To Watch the Meeting Live: You can call in or watch the Transportation Commission meeting in several ways:

-Livestream on the Madison City Channel website: https://media.cityofmadison.com/mediasite/showcase

-Livestream on the City of Madison YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CityofMadison

-Television: Watch live on Spectrum channel 994 and AT&T U Verse channel 99

-Listen to audio via phone: (877) 853 5257 (Toll Free) Webinar ID: 918 6671 3991

The City's COVID-19 Newsletter

The most recent newsletter issued by the City on all matters related to Covid-19 is chock full of useful information, including the latest on masks, the Goodman Pool, Recycling Fee Stickers, and much more. Find out how to sign up for the Newsletter by clicking this link.

Last night's Council meeting

Last night was a doozy, lasting past 2 AM.  Two lengthy discussions were held, the first on the proposed assistance for downtown businesses that suffered property damage during the protests. You may recall that $200,000 was raised by Michael Johnson of the Boys & Girls Club shortly after the damage occurred.  It's estimated that roughly $200,000 in costs uncovered by insurance remain, either in the form of deductibles or due to inadequate coverage. 

I voted against the use of public funds to assist these businesses, not because I lack sympathy for their plight. I did so because I believe the private sector, particularly the many large businesses in our community with healthy balance sheets, is better positioned to come to the aid of these smaller, struggling businesses. There was also discussion about establishing an Equity Fund for Black-owned businesses.  While I support the concept, I believe this needs more work.  Rather than doing this on our own, city staff and alders must invite leaders in the Black community to the table to find out what is needed and desired.  

The second item that took up a big chunk of time was the Oscar Mayer Special Area Plan.  One key item of debate was whether we should amend the plan to expand the open space area on the Hartmeyer property beyond the 14.1 acres designated for preservation to the full 31 acres many activists and residents were calling for. 

Full disclosure, I voted for this expanded option at our last Madison Sustainable Committee meeting. However, last Saturday, I walked the Hartmeyer property and saw with my own eyes that much of the property beyond the 14.1 acres is severely degraded. The cost of purchasing and restoring this acreage as a conservation area would be in the millions of dollars.  The City is in no position at this time to make this kind of investment, particularly given Covid.

Moreover, saving all 31 acres would mean the loss of 395 housing units located in close proximity to transit.  I was reminded again about how our many challenges are linked.  We currently have a housing crisis.  I have a Master's in Applied Economics, but one needs no degree to predict what happens when more people want to live here than we have places to put them – prices go up, for rents and home values. We currently have very low vacancy rates. Many of you have complained to me about the increases in your property assessments. This is why.

As prices go up, people on the lower end of the income scale are displaced, often beyond our borders, to neighboring Fitchburg or Sun Prairie, a phenomenon I refer to as the suburbanization of poverty.  Often these folks still have jobs in our City, which in the absence of quality transit adds to traffic congestion and pollution, the latter including carbon emissions, impacting climate change.  And, due to the racialized income and wealth gap that plagues our state and city (we are the worst in the nation in this regard), the folks pushed out of our City are often people of color. 

Hence, affordable housing, transportation, sustainability and racial equity are all intimately linked.

I voted for the Plan with amendments to limit the impact on nearby residents on Coolidge Street and some important language regarding toxic contaminants and racial equity.  Alder Syed Abbas put a tremendous amount of work into this on behalf of his constituents and deserves a lot of credit. 

All in all, the OMSAP is a solid plan and will lead to positive outcomes in this critical part of our City's infrastructure.

That's all for now.

Stay safe. Be well. Be kind.

Tag

 




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