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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Madison Five-Year Plan: $5.2M for Infrastructure

...and right behind ICAP for subsidy: East River.

The Madison City Commission is looking into spending a million dollars a year to upgrade our streets and utilities. Tomorrow night's agenda includes the five-year Infrastructure Improvement Plan, which proposes to spend $5,234,000 on water mains, storm and sanitary sewer, and street work. The biggest ticket items: Center Street water works in 2012 and 2014, then Southeast Fourt Street water works in 2015. I would hope the Center Street project also includes fixing the bombed-out pavement from Washington Avenue east to Division and the stockyards.

Not included in the five-year plan: paving—not resurfacing, but just surfacing—of South Division, Southeast Third, or other stretches of gravel within city limits. Perhaps paving is in another budget? Or perhaps Madison just likes offering some select residents the dusty joys of country living in the big city.

Also on the agenda: East River Electric is asking the city to split the cost of improvements on South Harth Avenue. East River would like us to kick in $127,254 to help rebuild the street, improve draingage, and make it all look pretty. East River supports its request by saying the project will "improve the appearance of the city," improve traffic flow, "increase pedestrian safety," and support the city's effort to revitalize downtown (wait, the city has a downtown revitalization effort?).

East River's justifications are reasonable—well, except maybe for the traffic flow argument: how is it that in four decades of living in Madison, I've missed out city's terrible traffic jams? And East River's request is maybe only half of the subsidy the city handed ICAP on its Rosebud purchase.

Now if we could see the city offer some downtown revitalization subsidies to retailers actually on Main Street, we could be in business. I wonder, can Country Café apply for the city to split the cost of that new yellow paint job? How about a subsidy for Mochavino's new outdoor furniture? Or maybe a buyout and renovation of the Masonic Temple? Oh, the possibilities!


  1. SE 3rd Street. We were forced to put curb and gutter on our property on this street many years ago. We've been waiting for the road to turn from gravel (really bad road) to pavement. In a town this size there isn't one reason all the streets shouldn't be pavement. We should be a gravel street free town - there are several streets that need first time paving. What's the reason? As usual, it's not a priority in that neighborhood I guess. We had no choice on the curb and gutter and sidewalk. Sorry folks, we pay the same taxes as any other part of town. Give us a break!

  2. [Grandma above is Ruth Heidelberger, my mom, Madison landowner.]

  3. A downtown revitalization program would be a strong growth tool for Madison. If the City set up a low-interest loan program for building owners who wish to replace their roof, tuckpoint their historic building, replace windows, insulate and refurbish buildings, we could invigorate mainstreet and our sidestreets downtown. Also, implementing a toilet and shower head rebate and replacment program could reduce our water needs. Sioux Falls has been offering rebates for replacing old toilets with water-saving toilets for years now with great success. With a little vision, we can help ourselves grow and prosper and fill up our downtown buildings with more retail opportunities.


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