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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Campaign Promise Fulfilled: Madison Gets Main Street Flower Pots!

Cross-posted at RealMadison.org!

It's not a full downtown redevelopment program, but it is a fulfillment of city commissioner Karen Lembcke's campaign promise: Madison has new flower baskets on the lightpoles on Egan Avenue!

Lovely violet flowers on the 100 block North of Madison's Egan Avenue. Those downtown trees are just reaching full blossom. Keep pushing, little leaves! you can do it!

A closer view of those violet flowers, with Madison's most impressive Main Street façades in the sunny background. Oh, the possibilities....

The 200 block North gets pink flowers, which we see here catching heck from the wind. I think my gardening wife calls that "hardening off." It's good for the plants, really. You can be beautiful in South Dakota, but you still have to be tough.

Flowers at the "Four Corners" make even this sign a little easier to take. Maybe the flowers will distract the lawyers who otherwise might bring a trademark infringement case. Hey, wait a minute: what's that little package hanging off the flower pot?

The flowers are nice. I'll bet our economic development director Dwaine Chapel finally took my advice and brought a good idea to work with him from his home in Brookings. You know, Brookings, that nice college town that has downtown flower baskets and a downtown development organization.


  1. Brookings is very welcoming. I would suggest driving south on their main street a couple blocks north of Wells Fargo and take it all in. They have a wide street, well-cared for buildings, an assortment of stores. Madison's trees downtown are too many and now overgrown and should be removed or largely thinned out. I noticed someone is painting empty store front windows which is helpful. It's incredibly troubling that so many owners of our buildings collected the rent but let them decay (it is a private issue in many ways), but it impacts us all, so where do we go from here?

  2. Overgrown? Heavens no, John! If anything, our downtown trees need to be bigger. Trim them back from the buildings when necessary, but otherwise, let them grow! Having that shade and color downtown is vital in my urban-planning paradigm.

    The one thing Brookings has done wrong in its downtown renovation is to remove its trees. Brookings Main now looks far too bare and open. Trees offer a cozy, lived-in feel. Plus, they're a nice place to hang Christmas lights.

  3. I agree, Corey. The trees downtown should be allowed to thrive. Keep them trimmed and neat, and they'll make downtown look all the more inviting.

  4. We want downtown to thrive, not trees. Vegetation should not detract and they prevent a person from seeing the store fronts. Bushes would be a better choice. JNs vote can not be considered since he has no profile.

  5. [JN -- John Nelson (see the links in his sidebar). I'll vouch for him.] Brookings's downtown was doing much better than Madison's even when it had those big trees. Trees make downtown a more walkable, livable space. People see a cozy, shady (in the good sense!) Main Street and say "Oh! How lovely! Let's go look!" They take a leisurely stroll that direction and have time to see the signs through the trees. We can still make those signs visible, put logos in the windows, etc. Good marketing and greenery can coexist!

  6. My link said Profile Not Available although I did suspect it was an English teacher. The thing is, tree huggers rarely see straight on this issue. A tree in the wrong place is just a big weed. Cory, I'm curious, are you still morning the loss of the trees next to your place, or did the new neighbors do something nice out there? You have to go back in time to remember how unhappy Cory was with that back hoe.

  7. [Yes, I still miss the trees. Landscaping is coming next door, but nice big trees are still years away.]

    So how are those trees downtown, with their shade and greenery, in the wrong place? Does anyone downtown feel like they are losing business because the summer foliage obscures their signage? Heck, I say we should extend that median on North Egan right down through the business district and plant trees down the center of the street.

  8. Cutting down the trees would be a huge mistake. They're a huge reason I find downtown Madison somewhat appealing.


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