Madison City Council To Vote On Future For Downtown Tonight

When I started working in state government in January 1987 I was surprised that the downtown lost its energy and became a ghost town at the end of the work day. I started listening to the debates among city planners and those who had big ideas for the future of the city. Over and over there was a stated desire for some job-producing business in the downtown. With high-tech jobs at the heart of so much of the dynamic economic growth this nation wants there is no reason for us not to do what is required to now make this proposal with Exact Sciences happen.

If approval comes from the city council a most ambitious investment project of $46 million would signal to others that Madison is able to effectively encourage business development.

I fully understand that there are tough choices and judgment calls to be made with this proposal. There are items that I would shape differently but I also would compromise in the needed ways to make sure the end result allowed for this investment to move forward. We must not lose sight of what we want our city to look like and become as we move forward. If we only listened to the ones opposed to everything we would still be mired down over how to proceed with Monona Terrace.

While there are many components to the deal one part stands out as precisely what the downtown needs. Exact Sciences, creator of Cologuard, the first and only FDA approved noninvasive DNA screening test for colorectal cancer, would be able to construct a building.   There has been a guarantee of 400 jobs with high incomes and assurances that financial penalties will be applied if agreements are not met.

This is exactly the type of jobs and incomes that we should work to encourage.  Any city that is vibrant needs to have a robust downtown.

The only question that remains is whether Madison has the ability to still make big things happen that can shape and transform our city?

One thought on “Madison City Council To Vote On Future For Downtown Tonight

  1. Solly

    ya had to rattle the cage, dintya Deke.

    My questions would be:

    Why does the City of Madison have a TIF policy if before the ink is dry on it, it’s being ignored?

    Why does the City of Madison issue RFPs if people can come in with whatever they want, and the city ignores the other proposals? And yes, I know the difference between RFPs and bids, I’ve written both for the state. This goes beyond the pale.

    Why was the BFD for the RFP that we “needed” another hotel for the convention center, but now that’s the 2nd phase?

    We’re told highly paid medical tech/info. professionals won’t want to work downtown without subsidized parking. Wha?!

    And for a council obsessed about economic disparity, will the maids and maintenance people and wait staff get subsidized parking? Or, will they be offered bus passes to meet the transportation demand plan. And what about all of the other people who work downtown for the state, county, city, retail, restaurants, etc. without subsidized parking?

    I think the city council fancies itself morally and intellectually superior to the clown car in the white building down the block with the funny roof. However, I’m only surprised WEDC didn’t want in on the deal as it has all the hallmarks of government picking winners and losers and corporate welfare. (I have since been informed that WEDC IS involved, but got a lot better deal than the city…not that WEDC ever follows up or holds companies to what they promise!)

    There are two voters in this household against this travesty. People ARE paying attention!

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