UPDATE: Community weighs in on Madison public market proposal - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Community weighs in on Madison public market proposal

Posted: Updated: May 28, 2014 05:54 PM
MADISON (WKOW) -- City officials heard public input Wednesday evening on where to put a proposed public marketplace.

The city held the third of four meetings near Park Street and the Beltline in the Atrium Community Room.

Those who turned out spoke about the need for the future market to be accessible and centrally located in Madison without stepping on the toes of the Dane County Farmer's Market on Capitol Square.

Sue Stark, a realtor who lives downtown, said she believes an area around Park Street or Fish Hatchery Street would be ideal for the market.

"It's a nice, centralized location so it's easy access to everybody," she said.

The proposed, public market would be indoors and feature local food, arts and crafts. Anne Reynolds, the Chair of Madison's Local Food Committee, said the market should also be viewed as a popular hangout or gathering place.

Madison has been discussing the possibility of a public market for roughly a decade.

This month's meetings come in the wake of a report by an organization, commissioned at the request of the city, showing there is a demand for such a market in Madison.

The fourth and final meeting will be at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 2126 N. Sherman Avenue, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Dan Kennelly, an Economic Development Specialist for the City of Madison, said the city is expecting to budget roughly $3.5-million to purchase a site for the market.

"If we're able to find a site the city owns, or owns part of, that would obviously save some money," he said.

"If we're able to find a location with an existing building on it that can be retrofitted, versus building new, that will save money," Kennelly said.

Kennelly said the city would like to make a decision on a location for the market sometime this summer with the goal of breaking ground sometime in 2015 or 2016.

Reynolds said the city will seek to put together a business plan detailing the market's layout, and what vendors it might include, after a site has been chosen.

Kennelly said the city will have a better idea of how much the market will cost to construct following the formation of the business plan.

While the city will be putting money into the market to start the project off, Reynolds said the goal is for it to be sustainable on its own.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The public is invited to weigh in on possible locations for a public market district in Madison on Wednesday evening.

The meeting follows a report put out by Project for Public Spaces at the request of the city's economic development department and local food committee.

The report found there is demand in Madison for a public market featuring local foods, arts and crafts and even doubling as a gathering or meeting place. In the wake of those findings, the city has opted to continue ahead with plans to find a location for the market. The city is hoping to find a spot accessible to all of Madison's residents. It's also hoping to avoid a situation in which the market infringes on other, local food businesses.

The city has already held two meetings on the topic.

A third is scheduled Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in the Atrium Community Room, 2234 S. Park Street. A fourth meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 2126 N. Sherman Avenue.

Anne Reynolds, chair of the local food committee, said the city is hoping to help with the initial construction and development of the market. But the goal is for it to eventually be sustained by the businesses that inhabit it.

Reynolds said the city would like to have a location for the market picked out by the end of the year. It will then begin working on a business plan regarding the market's layout, and what vendors might inhabit it.

She said the Mayor could include money for the project in the 2015 budget but the amount depends on the business plan. Reynolds said the city would ideally like to see the market up and running in 2015.


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