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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Heartland Building Green Building... But in Green Location?

Jon Hunter notes with approval Heartland Consumers Power District's planned construction of a new green building in the industrial park out on the southeast edge of town. (Nice that the LAIC can convince the organization run by the LAIC president to move out there.)

I approve as well, but must ask the following: how green is it? Heartland currently has its headquarters smack dab in the middle of town, a block from Main Street, within walking distance of City Hall, the courthouse, LAIC HQ, China Moon, Dairy Queen, the grocery store, all those fine places a busy employee might meet or eat during the day. Now they are moving to a location at the edge of town, a good mile from the same amenities. How much more gas will folks use to get to this contribution to Madison's urban sprawl?

In other words, how green is your building when everyone has to drive to get to it?

Update 2009.03.02: Recall also that in December, when ICAP agreed to move across the street onto the old Rosebud lot, Mr. Hunter noted with approval that keeping ICAP's 40-odd workers downtown was part of a win-win scenario. So may we conclude Heartland's move to the urban fringe is a loss?


  1. They can ride bikes to go downtown... environmentally-friendly and healthier to boot!

  2. Why do you assume they will drive and not bike ?

  3. It's all about corporate visibility. Nobody sees Heartland in their current location. Half the folks in Madison probably couldn't tell you how to find it. If they use geothermal heating and cooling, double insulation construction or spray foam insulation along with the most energy efficient lighting, it will compensate for the added fossil fuels burned.

    If we get all these building projects going at once, James River building, ICAP and Heartland, we'll actually look like something big's happening here in Madison. You will truly "Discover the Unexpected" when you drive into Madison from the east. One of them will benefit the tax roles, but how about Heartland and ICAP?

  4. "If we get all these building projects going at once, James River building, ICAP and Heartland, we'll actually look like something big's happening here in Madison."

    Yea, all that building will distract my attention from all the U-Hauls heading out of town!

  5. Our population is down almost 1000 people in the past five years, but nobody is talking about that. We have almost 800 full-time RVers to take their place, who don't live here or spend any money in Madison, but they count in the census.

  6. "You will truly 'Discover the Unexpected' when you drive into Madison from the east."

    What's unexpected about economic development? Are you saying people expect Madison to be a hole and should be surprised to see signs of economic life?

  7. What's unexpected about economic development in Madison is that it hasn't happened for quite awhile. For several years we've come to expect no job increases, hundreds of job losses, holes on mainstreet, no new manufacturers or service firms who would put our folks to work. It will be a breath of fresh air to see these strong construction projects in our community. Maybe that will inspire others to do the same. Success attracts success. This may be our development spurt that happens in Madison about once every ten years according to Kathy Amert. The comment about the U-Hauls is an issue that needs to be addressed and not just ignored by our leaders.

  8. Madison has low expectations of itself. I cringe every time I drive down main street and see more tin falling off our historic buildings. A good fix for broken windows is B U D W E I S E R signs. I would expect people to leave town with Gehl on the skids (sorry), but there's not many houses for rent or many new houses listed for sale so I'm not convinced yet our numbers are going down without hard evidence. Maybe there's nowhere to go or they are waiting for spring to find new opportunities. I agree clearly clearly with what's been written, that Madison has not concentrated on bring in new employment, and now this is what we get: A town in decline. Most of our city "leaders" are followers.


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