Madison working on plans for indoor public market - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison working on plans for indoor public market


MADISON (WKOW) -- The city of Madison is hoping to bring new options to people who want to buy local foods and asking for the community's help to design a public market in town.

The city hosted a public meeting Monday night to get input from the community on what they're looking for in a market. More than 50 people turned out to share their ideas.

Madison officials are looking for a year-round, indoor space that will add to existing food resources, like the Dane County Farmers' Market. 

Mayor Paul Soglin says the farmers' market is a great starting point.

"It's created a culture where people are used to this kind of shopping, they like it, and we think that an all year round facility is something that not just Madisonians, but Dane County and surrounding county residents would like," Soglin says. "And we know that the farmers like it."

The city spent $250,000 to hire a New York consulting firm to do research, develop plans and gather thoughts from the public. The team is still working on what the market would offer Madison.

"We don't know yet what this is going to be and we're looking forward to figuring out what this is going to be," says project manager Kelly Verel. "But I don't think it's going to look like any other public market you think of in the U.S."

Some of those who attended Monday night's meeting were looking forward to the possibility of a new place to grow Madison's local food economy.

"I love the concept of this public market and hopefully it will serve the region and not just the community of Madison," says Baraboo grower Tom Holmes. "I also have some vision for the public market that would include nice open spaces, and an inviting atmosphere for shoppers and maybe someplace where produce could be kept so it would extend the season." 

Other farmers also were there, interested in becoming vendors at a proposed market.

"We're very excited about having more options for getting our food out there to the local environment and just want to learn more and figure out what this can offer us and the rest of the community," says Madison farmer Tommy Stauffer, who says access to the general public has been difficult thus far.

The city will spend the next year developing designs for the facility. Mayor Soglin has set aside 3.5 million in the 2014 budget to purchase a site (still to be determined) and develop plans. It's still unclear how much the entire project could cost. If all goes well, Soglin expects the market could open by 2017.
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