Madison’s Williamson-Marquette Neighborhood One Of 10 Great Neighborhoods For 2013


The place James and I call home, the place our neighbors, and so many of our friends call home has been selected as one of the great neighborhoods in the nation for 2013. When the American Planning Association (APA) today announced the designation it was noted that this  neighborhood was exceptional for its walkability, local activism, and revitalization.

There is no doubt that this neighborhood cares about issues, both local and national, and makes a point for clearly spelling out where we stand.  When it comes to politics some of the wards in this area have the most liberal voting records in the state.  (I am proud to live in one of them.)  On local issues there is a continuing push back when it comes to senseless development at the expense of quality of life issues for those who call this place home.

I have been most impressed with the local interest in a wide variety of issues that turn people out to the local Marquette Neighborhood Association meetings.  During board discussions it is most common to have feedback from locals who sit around the room, adding perspective and at times emotion to the matters up for a vote.  Since this area is really a destination place both to live and play the development issues at times have become more heated, but the resolve of the community to make sound decisions never falters.

Everyone in Madison knows of the Marquette Neighborhood,” said Mayor Paul Soglin. “It is our SoHo. It has the beauty of the lakes; the vibe of the new, emerging business risk takers; and, a home for persons from all walks of life.  Marquette has a vibrancy that is a benchmark for other neighborhoods.  It is a place some expected would continue to decline.  But it turned itself around to become one of the most livable places in our city,” the mayor added.

I am always hopeful when I see others take an interest in making sure that our local area looks great, and heads towards improvements.  We care about our old (and often historic) homes, the large-growth trees, our shoreline and park.  We care about density issues, and mass transportation.  And we care about each other.

We all know our neighbors and friends who live here.  The guy who walks his dog down the street, the woman who jogs, or the World War II vet who was able to take an Honor Flight.  The grad student who excels in music, or the lady who travels to China for her job with the university.  In many ways this area is more than a community, but at times feels like a large extended family.

I am most proud of all those who have invested themselves in one way or another to make this place not only a workable neighborhood, but also home to so many diverse and interesting people.

The nine other APA 2013 Great Neighborhoods are:Chinatown, San Francisco, CA; Downtown Norwich, CT; Downtown Decatur, Decatur, GA; Central Street Neighborhood, Evanston, IL; Downtown Mason City, Mason City, IA; Historic Licking Riverside Neighborhood, Covington, KY; Kenwood, Minneapolis, MN; Beaufort Historic District, Beaufort, SC; and West Freemason, Norfolk, VA.

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