Downtown Madison stirs up images of the Capitol, ethnic restaurants and college students. But for those living in Capitol-area neighborhoods, downtown Madison means home as well.
Because the residential aspect of downtown is often forgotten, one neighborhood will be the focus of a tour titled “Downtown Living: A Walking Tour of the Bassett Neighborhood.”
The tour, sponsored by the Bassett Neighborhood Association in conjunction with Downtown Madison, Inc., will give neighborhood residents and community members an opportunity to see the housing options downtown Madison provides.
“Downtown demographics have been changing for the past several years,” said Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4. “Bassett has been primarily UW-Madison and MATC students, [but] over the past several years, more and more non-students are anxious to live downtown.”
The tour, now in its second year, arose to showcase the wide variety of downtown housing. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 8, people can pay $10 to tour ten homes in eight different locations in the six-block Bassett neighborhood area.
“[The tour] will include a single-family home, apartments and condominiums,” said Sarah Appen Reiter, director of programming for DMI. “Our staff and board members who traveled to other cities saw similar tours taking place.”
With interest in downtown living growing annually, DMI and the Bassett Neighborhood Association want to show off everything from the recently built Bedford Court condominiums to the historical home built in the 1920s.
“The Bassett neighborhood is clearly on the right track with the new diversity of the neighborhood,” Verveer said. “Thousands of UW and MATC students live in the area, but on the other hand, folks of all ages live here. Empty-nesters who don’t need a big yard think, ‘Wouldn’t it be exciting to live downtown and take in all downtown has to offer?'”
Last year the “Downtown Living” tour featured another downtown neighborhood: First Settlement. These two, along with Mansion Hill and Capitol Centre, make up an organization called Capital Neighborhoods. In following years, the other two neighborhoods will be the focus of the tour.
The Bassett neighborhood, which lies in the southwest quadrant of the Capitol Square, is an important downtown neighborhood, Reiter said, because it features the variety and location downtown living is known for. Still, she said, students may wonder if downtown living is available in their price range.
“[There are] some options in condominiums for students for rental,” Reiter said. “Some students want to be close to campus, others really take pride in their first apartment. [The Bassett neighborhood] provides great location with a neighborhood feel.”
Whether Madison residents are looking into living in a downtown area or are simply curious about the downtown neighborhood lifestyle, Verveer said, the Bassett Neighborhood tour will provide an opportunity to fill any curiosities.
“Bassett hasn’t achieved a lot of attention,” Verveer said. “[This isn’t] just a fundraiser but a chance to show off our neighborhood.”
Tickets for the tour are available for $10 at Park Bank locations or may be purchased at the beginning of the tour. Proceeds support neighborhood improvement projects.