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Friday, December 5, 2008

ICAP Move to Rosebud: Cause for Celebration?

And in unsurprising news, Jon Hunter and I disagree.

Wednesday I questioned whether Madison's sale of the old Rosebud property to Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership (ICAP) was really the best use the city and the Lake Area Improvement Corporation could come up with. Chief of the civic cheer section (not to mention former LAIC president and board member) Jon Hunter thinks the city and LAIC did a heckuva job, Brownie, in striking this deal:

The ICAP board of directors decided it should own its own facility after leasing for the last 44 years. ICAP intends to build an environmentally-friendly, efficient structure.

The new structure will be great for ICAP in that it will better meet its needs and not have to move far. The new facility will dramatically boost the value of the property and keep the 40 or so workers within walking distance of downtown restaurants, stores and services. Everybody wins [Jon Hunter, "ICAP Investment Is Terrific for Madison and Downtown," Madison Daily Leader, 2008.12.03].

That's funny: When the city and LAIC wanted to push Rosebud out to the industrial park, I didn't hear our man Hunter saying it was "terrific" to keep Rosebud's 67 employees within walking distance of downtown restaurants, stores, and services.

ICAP's move isn't so much a situation where everybody wins as one where nobody loses... except maybe for whoever is currently collecting rent from ICAP. We're replacing an old building with a new one (plans for which remain to be seen), but we're not adding any jobs, not adding any new customers, and not adding any new retail to downtown. Stopping a loss doesn't merit quite the same rah-rah sis-boom-bah as scoring a win.


  1. Sadly, Madison has seen the downtown area become mainly service firms (lawyers, accountants, insurance) rather than retail outlets. It is part of our evolution as a community. Since we've seen no growth for decades, maybe the best we can hope for is maintenance and improvement of what we have. Not my idea of fun, but probably a reality, based on past history. If we measure our community's strength by improvements and upgrades rather than growth of bodies and jobs, we're doing okay. Some people are satisfied with "okay". If we want our community to grow, we need to stop the retail leakage caused by having only one grocery store. We're losing millions each year because people want a choice and lower prices for groceries. That is hurting Madison. A grocery outlet between Montgomery's and Lewis needs to happen. Our sales tax revenue will skyrocket.

  2. Don't we have several more grocery stores, or are my eyes deceiving me? I believe that Pamida, Lewis, and all of the "dollar stores" sell quite a few groceries. We certainly don't need a Walmart, that is, if you are trully interested in preserving downtown. Also, check out the sale prices with our "one" grocery store. It is very competitive with Hy-Vee because Sunshine has to be, since it has several stores in Sioux Falls. You also need to check how the ownership of our Sunshine store supports Madison in many ways. I seriously doubt if Walmart or Hy-Vee would be that interested in doing the same in our little community (by their standards). In addition, check how many grocery stores Watertown or Brookings or Pipestone have for their population. You might have your eyes opened.


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