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Madison Has Reasons To Feel Good About Future

June 4, 2019

I admit to not always feeling good about how the world looks after reading the newspapers.  There are plenty of reasons to feel glum, from Sudan with the shootings this week, to the lack of proper road funding in our state.  So when positive news is reported there is a need, I sincerely believe, to call it out.

And even better to do so when there is not one, but two positive stories coming from the city where I live.

In the April election for mayor I cast my vote for Paul Soglin.  One of the reasons I felt the need to do so was based on his ability to govern with fiscal dexterity.  He knew the needs of the city, but also understood why fiscal restraint is a wise lever to use.

While I admire Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway for her political moves I also am watching her actions on budget matters and city finances.  So when I read the following in the paper today I smiled in agreement.

Rhodes-Conway, however, also strongly echoed former Mayor Paul Soglin’s long-running concern over increased borrowing and rising debt payments, which account for 17.5% of the city’s operating budget for 2019, far above the unofficial target of 12.5% of spending.

If that foundation of understanding can be held to firmly, and not allowed to be altered by, at times a wayward city council, then Madison has reason to be assured of a more solid footing in the years ahead.  I hope our new mayor is most determined to stand by her statement.

The second story that makes me feel very pleased, after years of teases and missteps, is the powerhouse of an idea for the inner part of Madison. 

After decades of dreams and recent design concepts, Madison is poised to spend serious money to explore how to better connect Downtown with Law Park and Lake Monona. 

The city is now finalizing a $190,000 contract with the national architectural, engineering and planning firm SmithGroup, which has an office in Madison, to create a brand for the initiative, engage the community, and do preliminary technical work on the site’s history, relevant city plans, existing conditions, future road and shoreline improvements and more. The effort would run through the end of the year.

Dynamic and robust energy in the heart of any city is what draws tourists and dollars.  The spectacular nature of the isthmus and its potential for expansion of a park and other associated projects is an idea that is long over-due.

Madison is a place we all can be most proud to call home.  We can keep it that way by just making sound decisions.

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