City meetings continue to be mostly virtual with details listed in City Meetings of Interest below. Common Council meetings are hybrid so the public can attend in person or via Zoom. 

Stay in touch with your neighbors through either Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc.  or Campus Area Neighborhood Assoc.

There are five sections to this week's update:

  1. Request for Neighborhood Input on Core Spaces Johnson & Bassett Redevelopment Proposal
  2. May is Mental Health Awareness Month 
  3. City Meetings of Interest
  4. Downtown Updates
  5. City Updates


Request for Neighborhood Input on Core Spaces Johnson & Bassett Redevelopment Proposal

The Campus Area Neighborhood Association (CANA) is seeking feedback on the Johnson & Bassett Redevelopment proposal. As I noted in my last blog update, Core Spaces is proposing another development at the corner of Johnson & Bassett. The Johnson & Bassett Steering Committee report largely noted that there was a rushed public engagement process that did not allow for enough feedback from the neighborhood on impact. 

For context, Core Spaces has spearheaded several luxury high rises in this area, including the James, Hub, and Oliv Madison. This development will demolish 75 units of naturally occurring affordable housing. Core Spaces indicated in the last steering committee meeting that they wanted to be competitive with their other developments like the James and the Hub. For further context, the James and the Hub are charging over $1800 for a closet of studio.

I understand that given limits with the WI State Legislature on inclusionary zoning and rent control, we are not authorized to turn away a project due to its affordability. In terms of design of the project presented to Urban Design Commission, I can agree with the take of the steering committee “This development increases density and uniformity of design at the expense of diversity and the classic vernacular of the working-class housing that characterizes the Mifflin neighborhood.” The steering committee further notes that the design and amenities of the building attempts to keep residents inside rather than interacting with the neighborhood.

At any rate, before we take a vote at Urban Design Commission (May 24th), Plan Commission (June 26th), and Common Council (July 11th), please provide your feedback to the steering committee. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? Yes, May is almost over (crazy, right?!) But still, everyday is Mental Health Day. One in five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness each year and less than half of them receive treatment, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness PDF . Let this month be a reminder to everyone to take time for yourself, check in on your friends (even the happy ones), and be kind to yourself. 

Check out this link about 29 Ways to Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month

Also, join this event May 25th 12p-1p for Mental Health Awareness month: Breaking up with People Pleasing & Finding Your Authentic Voice


City Meetings of Interest

Sustainable Madison Committee May 22nd 4:30p

Agenda Item 2: Adopting the Final Report of the Task Force on Farmland Preservation
If you have the time, you can read the 230 page Task Force on Farmland Preservation Final Report. Obviously, a load of time and energy went into this report and we should take the recommendations into consideration in the upcoming years. 
Agenda Item 4: Presentation by RENEW Wisconsin on the proposed utility rate cases from MG&E and Alliant Energy

Plan Commission May 22nd 5:30p

Agenda Item 4: Adopting the Farmland Preservation Task Force ReportAgenda Item 5: Accepting the report titled “Comprehensive Plan - 2023 Progress Update”
Agenda Item 6: A resolution adopting a Public Participation Plan for the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan Interim Update 2023 and authorizing the Plan Commission to draft updates to the 2018 Comprehensive Plan

Upcoming Matters: 428-444 State St demolition permit

Transportation Commission May 24th

**Update about appointing Common Council members to Transportation Commission as of the May 16th Common Council meeting: given changes to the Transportation Commission in terms of membership and guidance, the Mayor has not yet officially appointed alders to the Transportation Commission. If you watched the last Common Council meeting, you may have seen how long, arduous, and confusing this process has been. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks alders will get appointed. The alder appointed to the Transportation Commission will be myself, Ald. Govindarajan, and Ald. Martinez-Rutherford. 
Agenda Item 2: Update on Metro Network Redesign Implementation

WisDOT and City of Madison Host Public Meetings for Interstate Study: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and City of Madison invite you to attend one of two meetings to discuss potential changes to the Interstate and interchanges in the Madison area. These alternatives are part of WisDOT’s larger I-39/90/94 corridor study that stretches from Madison to Wisconsin Dells. View study information and the proposed alternatives, submit comments, and sign-up for email updates on WisDOT’s project website: Both meetings will start at 6 p.m. with a brief presentation, followed by an open house. 
Tuesday, May 23, 6:00-7:30 p.m. American Family Insurance Headquarters, Building A, Room A2151, 6000 American Parkway Madison, WI 53783 
Thursday, June 1, 6:00-7:30 p.m. Steamfitters Local 601 Training Facility, 6310 Town Center Drive Madison, WI 53718

Alcohol License and Review Committee May 24th 5:30p

Agenda Item 4: Temporary Class B Retailer License for Madison Festivals Inc.Run Madtown Event; May 27th and 28th; 700 Block of State St
As noted in the last blog, this license was approved at council, as long as the ALRC approved the license at this week’s meeting. Yes, I am still frustrated that Madison Festivals Inc. has been privileged enough to receive continuous exceptions for being late on their license approvals. However, I believe that Madison Festivals Inc. received the message and hopefully will respect city time in future license applications. This is important for fairness and equity of all those applying for licenses large and small retailers alike. 

Urban Design Commission May 31st 4:30p 400 State St Proposal
JD McCormick’s 428-444 State St development proposal is coming back to the Urban Design Commission May 31st. This is the proposal that is next to Peace Park. In the past, the proposal has struggled to get past UDC and as I understand Parks staff is unwilling to work with JD McCormick on the proposal. I am still trying to get up to speed on the proposal. I reached out to JD McCormick’s development team and will meet with former Alder Heck tonight for more information. If anyone has opinions about the development, please don’t hesitate to share them with me


Downtown Updates

Salt Route Reduction (Not to Effect District 2) 
I just received word from staff that the Streets Division has redesigned our salt routes for the winter of 2023/2024. Nearly every district has seen some reductions, but not District 2. 
Reducing salt usage is a goal of the City and the Streets Division in the ongoing efforts to protect the environment and the public. Salt has well-documented negative consequences. It rusts vehicles, degrades infrastructure, and increases the salinity of our lakes. Our salt usage has dropped over the years, but the only meaningful way to cut down our use is to stop salting certain streets. 

Given Metro’s redesign, the Streets Division has evaluated our salt route network. If the Metro bus network is no longer running on that street then they could reduce salt usage. Instead of salt, staff will plow streets when there is at least 3” of snow and supplement with sand. This re-routing process removed roughly 85 traffic lane miles and a total of 740 traffic lane miles, meaning we will spread 500 fewer tons of salt on our roads.This is a tremendous improvement to our city.

Still, I am unsure why District 2 has no areas of removed salt. My speculation is that it could be because District 2 is a small geographic area and many streets are heavily used. I will reach out to staff with more information. 

Run Madtown May 27-28th
Hmong Day Downtown May 30th 
Located at the Top of State St. This is a free event with the Hmong Institute to share with the community in celebration of the last AAPI month in May. 
Cars on State Classic Car Show June 3rd 
Madison Night Market June 8th
More Events

City Updates

Metro’s New “Ride Guide” to go into effect June 11th: Madison Metro is completely updating its service starting on Sunday, June 11.

Madison Parks & MSCR Open House, Wednesday, May 24, 2023: The community is invited to attend a ribbon cutting and open house for Madison School & Community Recreation and Madison Parks at our new lakeside offices. The event begins with a short presentation followed by an official ribbon cutting! Then stay for the games, activities, and building tours. 4:30 pm.

East Side Farmers' Market, Tuesday, May 23, 2023: The Eastside Farmers' Market is Madison Wisconsin’s finest weekday farmers' market. Our goal is to bring the freshest Wisconsin grown food direct to the heart of the East side. Our vendor members are agricultural producers and food artisans who make value added products from Wisconsin's agricultural bounty.

Dane County Farmers' Market - Wednesday Market, Wednesday, May 24, 2023: The Wednesday Dane County Farmers’ Market is located on the 200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, in between the Madison Municipal Building and the City County Building. While more intimate than the Saturday Market, you will still find many of your favorite Dane County Farmers’ Market members, as well as a full array of fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheeses, honey, maple syrup, bakery items, cut flowers, plants, and many specialty items.

Annual Spring Break-A-Way 3on3 Basketball Tournament Series, Friday, May 26, 2023: After March Madness, the real tournament begins with the Annual Spring Break-A-Way 3on3 Basketball Tournament Series. Northside teens compete in a double-elimination tournament while enjoying a free meal. With on-site registration, players simply have to show up with two friends, or we will find a team for drop-in players. The tournament series is held on Friday nights: April 28, May 19 & May 26 (5pm-8pm), and includes middle school and high school divisions.

NewBridge Summer Concert Series, Friday, May 26, 2023: FREE community concert sponsored by NewBridge Madison, Party @ the Park, Brittingham Park.

Bird & Nature Adventures – Edna Taylor Area, Saturday, May 27, 2023: Signs of Spring with Mary Binkley ~ Join Naturalist Mary Binkley for a free fun fascinating family-friendly guided walk or take a walk on your own any day in May to follow beautiful walking trails at Aldo Leopold Nature Center and Edna Taylor Conservation Park to look for Signs of Spring!  Are Sandhill Cranes trumpeting their calls by the wetland? Do you see budding leaves, and spring flowers emerging?  Use a guidebook or apps such as Merlin and Seek to help you ID birds and plants and post your findings! 

Vegan Sausage Fest, Saturday, May 27, 2023: Vegan Sausage Fest will showcase how you can have delicious, creative dishes that don’t take lives.
That feature local products and produce.

Coffee with Neighbors: Thurber Coffee Open House, Sunday, May 28, 2023: Stop by Thurber Park (3325 Thurber Ave) to chat with artist-in-residence, Ash Armenta (they/them) and sip coffee with neighbors. All ages welcome, masking inside the space is encouraged.

Friends of Madison Public Library BIG BOOK SALE: Seven library Friends' groups are pooling their inventory for a large sale of gently used and donated books.  The sale takes place Saturday, June 3, 2023, 9am-3pm, rain or shine, at the Madison Public Library Service & Support Center at 1301 W. Badger Road in Madison.  All proceeds benefit Madison Public Libraries.AnnouncementsWest Area Plan Community Survey Ends May 31!: The planning team has been collecting community feedback over the past 4 months on assets, issues and opportunities. If you have not had the chance yet, please share what you like best about the West Area and what you would like the plan to cover by completing theWest Area Community Survey! It will close May 31. You can visit the webpage to see what others have been saying. Your feedback will be used to draft initial concepts and recommendations. The planning team will schedule community feedback opportunities for July and August to review the initial recommendations. Subscribe to the Plan’s email list to receive feedback opportunities and other Plan information.

Violence Prevention Funding Supports Community Programs: Public Health Madison & Dane County is now accepting applications from local community organizations to receive funding that supports violence prevention efforts in Dane County. “We are taking a public health approach to tackling this complex and far-reaching issue. That means looking at things like poverty, housing inequality, and lack of social connectedness, each associated with violence. But, we can’t do it alone,” said Director of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation, Aurielle Smith. Find out more: 

Make Music Madison Returns This Summer, June 21st: For the 11th year in a row, the City of Madison will become a stage with hundreds of free live performances throughout the City. Make Music Madison returns the first day of summer, June 21. Coffee shops, community centers, front porches, public libraries, and park shelters will be jamming with all kinds of music that will make you want to dance! The City is thrilled to once again be supporting this event. Registration for performers and venues is open now through May 25 at Registration is free. Free Summer Metro Bus Pass Program for MMSD Students: For the third year in a row, the City of Madison is giving every Madison Metropolitan School Districts Middle and High School student a free Metro bus pass for the summer. This summer Metro has made 7,000 passes available to MMSD students. Click here to learn more.

Food Scraps Recycling Drop-off Returns to South Madison Farmers’ Market Tuesday, May 23, 2023: The City of Madison in partnership with Sustain Dane and Neighborhood Food Solutions is happy to announce the return of our second food scraps

Madison’s Annual Drinking Water Quality Report Is Now Available!: Postcards are beginning to arrive in mailboxes across Madison letting people know their drinking water continues to meet or exceed all federal and state standards for health and safety.