Canopy Nightclub Adds To Alcohol Overload On Madison’s Williamson Street

There is much concern about the impact the proposed Canopy Nightclub will have on the Williamson Street neighborhood, which consists of homeowners and renters with children and others who are retired.  Placing a nightclub with even a ‘reduced’ capacity of 296 into a residential community is simply audacious.  The owners had threatened to ask for a capacity of 375.  They must know they are not going to be popular with local folks.  Only the owner of the property, Chuck Chvala, the former state senator who was convicted in the State Capitol caucus scandal, comes out with a smile.

One of the members of the Marquette Neighborhood Association took a few hours over the past couple of days and dedicated them to number crunching regarding the alcohol density in this neighborhood.  The results are embarrassing for a place that prides itself on being socially aware and progressive.  What the numbers show is that many who live here might not be any more able to live a sober life than those who make for the great novels of old Russia.

Here then are the findings of this most progressive place in Madison.  As the compilator of the numbers alerted readers on the neighborhood listserv the data is 95% accurate.

Did you know that the Marquette neighborhood had 6,105 residents in 2010 (12.2% of which were age 17 or younger)?  Knocking off the under age 17 group leaves 5,360 residents. 

Did you know that there currently exists 4,431 seats where one can get a drink in the neighborhood (plus event places including Elks, Sylvee, Old Sugar’s event space)?   

Did you know that of those alcohol seats, there are 2,458 where one can be entertained (1,514 of those seats are on E Washington)?  That no Williamson Street entertainment establishment has a capacity greater than 99 (now that Prism is gone)?

4,735 capacity for drinking

2,302 capacity for primarily drinking/entertainment

1,822 capacity for licensed entertainment establishments

Canopy would increase the total number of seats by 17% (not including E Washington establishments).  Increase of 375, currently 2,228.

Canopy would increase the total number of primary drinking seats by 70% (not including E Washington establishments).  Increase of 375, currently 537.

Canopy would increase the total number of entertainment seats by 63% (not including E Washington establishments).  Increase of 375, currently 596.

The highest capacity for a primarily drinking establishment (other than on E Washington) is 99.

The highest capacity for any establishment (other than on E Washington) is Sardine at 218.  Second biggest is I/O Arcade at 155, third is Buraka at 126.  Everything else is 100 or less.

Total MNA 2010 population: 6,105

Total MNA 2010 population over age 17: 5,360

Population increase from 2010-2019?  There were 306 housing units added (projects that required approvals) plus a few others (such as the new house at the Baldwin/Wilson corner).  So even with a population of approximately 6,000 drinking age adults, there is approximately 1 drinking seat for every 3 drinking age adults.

I am never sure what makes people want to waste a life in a bottle or glass.  I feel like I never have a day to waste or a time that I do not want to recall down the road. Good days or bad ones.  Being an adult requires being able to cope with life sober-minded. There are also professionals to talk with at points in life when issues need to be addressed.  When both of my parents died I reached out to talk with someone who allowed me to understand grief and work through it.  I never had a single drink at either of their passings.  In fact, that notion never even crossed my mind.

What I do know is the data shows what impact sitting for hours with a bent elbow does to society.  I wish my college-educated and progressive neighborhood would grasp that fact, too.

And so it goes.