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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Board of Estimates to decide fate of State

The city’s budget and finance committee will decide the fate of the State Street Design Project today.

Concerns regarding financing and the plan’s design are expected to be the key issues raised at the Board of Estimates meeting tonight.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said time constraints on the project create a sense of urgency for action.

“Because of the million we’d lose and given the short time frame, I feel strongly we need to move forward,” Verveer said.

A $1 million dollar grant donated by the Federal Highway Administration must be committed to and partially spent by September 30, 2002 to ensure its availability.

The project must also be finalized so the Overture Center can incorporate the State Street Design into construction in time for its grand opening in May of 2004.

The State Street Design Plan in its entirety is up for debate Monday night, including financing and aspects of the design itself.

Poulson said there is speculation over whether the proposed design is the ideal plan for State Street regarding trees and materials used.

“This is an important street and we want to do it right,” Poulson said.

Aspects of the existing State Street Design Plan include lengthening the sidewalks, allowing pedestrians to cross in less time, and placing uniform lights and signs throughout State Street and surrounding side streets.

The committee’s goal is to create a “district atmosphere” in the blocks surrounding State Street. Affected side streets include Carroll, Dayton, Mifflin, Fairchild, Johnson,
Henry, Gorham, Broom, Gilman, Lake and University.

It is unknown how Gov. Scott McCallum’s proposal to eliminate shared revenue to local governments will impact the city’s budget.

At least $2 million is available for the first phase of the State Street Design Plan and funding for the next phases will be determined one phase at a time.

Verveer said the state budget cuts should not be an overwhelming concern.

“Despite the budget crunch, we always intended to be a multi-year, multi-phase project, and we knew full well that the most we could afford would be a couple of blocks per year,” Verveer said. “Even if we had all the money in the world, we would not want to rip up all of State Street at once.”

The first phase of the State Street Design Plan would include the 100-200 blocks of State Street, the Overture Foundation, Mifflin Street, Carroll Park and possibly Concrete Park. The initial cost would be approximately $7 million.

Existing funds include $1 million from the Federal Highway Administration, $522,000 from the Federal Transit Administration Grant, and $430,000 in City of Madison funds borrowed in prior years.

Verveer said additional revenue would be available from Federal Transit Administration grants. The city could also receive financial help from proprietors, private fund-raisers, and loans.

Ten committees have approved the State Street design so far, with only the Board of Estimates and the Downtown Coordinating Committee left to vote. If these committees approve the design, the City Council will vote on the project in its March 19 meeting.

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