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Ask Dave Cieslewicz What Should Be Done With Judge Doyle Square

February 8, 2014

I was one of those not overly surprised, but nonetheless disheartened, when Madison Mayor Paul Soglin showed lack of spine when it came to using all the city power to make sure the Judge Doyle Square plans were big, forward thinking, and aimed at making a ‘wow’ statement.  Instead of just leading the timid Solgin should have led the city into the future with boldness and firmness.  Creating a downtown draw for tourists and further enhancing the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center with a classy hotel remains one of the most important decisions this mayor can make.  The additional framing of this area with features that speak to our values and strengths as a city seems to me to be a no-brainer.

This week former mayor Dave Cieslewicz weighed into the matter with a pointed article that resonates for those who think beyond the next election.

This is a substantial piece of the city’s heritage. It has been a badly underutilized district for a very long time, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime — make that once-in-two-or-three-lifetimes — chance to turn some pretty sour lemons into some pretty sweet lemonade.

And the city is on the verge of squandering this opportunity.

We have always understood that the costs for placing the parking underground, replacing the city offices with a new building or refurbishing the current one, and building a new hotel are very high. That’s not news, and the specific cost projections have been public for several months. But after asking developers for specific proposals and working with two of them to refine the proposals for months, Mayor Paul Soglin suddenly decided last week that he wasn’t up for the fight. He wants the costs reduced and the project diminished.

The costs are higher than they need to be, but that’s largely because of Soglin’s own directions. The project could be improved by doing three things that would add public amenities, reduce some costs and, most importantly, create a much more exciting and useful public space.

One Comment
  1. Solly permalink
    February 19, 2014 10:38 AM

    Yeah, ask ol’ Mayor Davey. Perhaps we could have a streetcar to nowhere circle the project. I stopped listening to M.D. after sitting in gridlock 4 hours to go 4 miles 36 hours AFTER a snowstorm. Basic services FIRST, then if the private sector can finance this boondoggle, let them risk THEIR money! Studies have shown investments of this type are giant rat holes for public money.

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