Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


City Council delays State Street Redesign Project

City Council members voted to stop State Street renovation plans indefinitely at their meeting Tuesday night.

On a 10 to nine vote, with one alderman abstaining, the redesign project was halted.

A unanimous vote to continue with the redesign on Jan. 22 was overturned with Tuesday’s action. The city will refrain from soliciting proposals for the construction drawings necessary to implement phase one of the State Street Redesign Project.

This setback postpones the renovation process, but does not affect the ongoing construction of the Overture Center.

The proposal to quell renovation plans was led by Ald. Brenda Konkel, District 2.

“I think it is obvious that with our budget we should reconsider where we are going with [the solicitation of drawings to local firms],” Konkel said.

The financial implications of the project concerned Council members due to Gov. Scott McCallum’s proposed deficit solution.

Some city officials said the continued solicitation of construction drawings would indicate a definite beginning to the project.

“Every vote that we take [in favor of the renovations] gets us one step closer,” Konkel said.
Council members in favor of continuing plans for State Street’s renovation were dismayed by the outcome of the meeting.

“To my disappointment [State Street renovations] were derailed by one vote, for the time being,” Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said.

Verveer said the current budget crisis does not affect the financial aspect of State Street plans.

“It is all the more disappointing because criticism was based not on the merits of the project,” he said.

However, Verveer acknowledged the need to find financial support.

“By no means do we know where the financing of this is going to come from,” Veveer said.

Councilmen discussed using revenue generated by the redesign itself as a source of funding.

“[The redesigned State Street] has the potential to create economic resources,” Ald. Matt Sloan, District 13, said. Another possible way to generate money is for the merchants of State Street to support renovations, putting more pressure on the state’s budget, Sloan said.

City Council members wanting the continuation of the project emphasized the need for speed in commencing the project.

“We are rapidly running out of time,” Director of the department of planning Brad Murphy said.

Some city officials prefer to start the process now, to allow more options in the future. Council members said with the cancellation of further plans, the city may lose valuable opportunities.

The design process stipulates the Council not face spending decisions until May. But because the process was held off indefinitely, knowledge of possible expenditures is also postponed.
Verveer said he plans to introduce a resolution to the council in the coming weeks to resume the redesign process.

Construction on the blocks around the Overture building, including the 200 block of State Street, will continue. Several hundred thousand dollars will be spent on the Overture blocks where construction started last year, Verveer said.

With the change in plans, the Council will have more time to consider alternatives to the expected timetable–and possibly the cancellation of the entire State Street project. “I am very pleased,” Konkel said. “I accomplished what I set out to do.”

But not every Council member agreed with Konkel.

“The State Street design project was the victim of Gov. McCallum tonight,” Veveer said.

Also at the meeting, Mayor Bauman briefed the council on the current budget crisis facing both the city and state. With an 8.3 million dollar potential cut in municipal aides, many city departments’ finances will be affected.

Possible solutions discussed were the freezing of city hiring, as well as possible lay offs. All city spending must be approved by the Mayor’s office, Bauman said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *