Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Peace Park plans moving forward

Members of the Urban Design Commission voted Wednesday to give their final approval to the renovation plans for Lisa Link Peace Park, which include a public visitor center and extensive landscaping.

Additional plans for renovation include gardens, fountains, a large lawn area, an outdoor performance space and indoor bathrooms.

Ken Saiki, from the architecture and landscaping firm Ken Saiki Designs, presented the plans, addressing several issues raised at a meeting last week after the plan’s introduction.

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The new plans feature widened windows on the building, updated colorful banners and a central monument designated as a “peace pole” at the State Street entrance.

The peace pole will be a four-sided wooden pole with the phrase “May Peace Prevail on Earth” inscribed onto each side in a different language.

Almost everyone on the commission expressed their approval of the peace pole design, which was added after they asked Saiki to research what differentiated peace parks from other parks in the meeting last week.

Elizabeth “Lisa” Link’s son Tom attended the meeting, and he said the pole was a great way to honor his mother’s contribution.

“I can assure you that [my mother] worked for peace her entire life,” Link said.

Saiki added he wanted to make there was more of a historic look to the park, and such a monument could aid in this desire.

Urban Design Commission member Richard Slayton said he was very happy with the new design.

“I think it looks great,” Slayton said. “It’s everything we wanted to see in this (project).”

However, not all commission members were happy with the new plans.

One particularly contentious issue was the addition of an outdoor ATM at the State Street entrance of the park, the installation of which would prohibit panhandling, due to a city ordinance outlawing begging within a 50-foot radius of the ATM.

“I think it sends the message that this park isn’t for everybody,” said commission member Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6.

Rummel ended up being one of the three members who voted against final approval for the plans, citing the ATM as the reason for her vote.

Commission member Jay Ferm also said he was not happy with the new designs, calling it “crass.” He asked what would happen to the people who currently use the park and how they would fit into the new one if panhandling were banned within 50 feet of the entrance.

Mary Carbine, executive director of Madison’s Central Business Improvement District, said the ATM would help to make the park “a full service stop,” as well as bring in more than $3,500 per year that would go toward keeping the park clean and staffed.

Most commission members did not raise concerns about the ATM presenting issues for lower-income individuals.

“I know that there are larger issues, but I don’t think that these are design issues,” commission member Richard Wagner said.

After nearly an hour of debate, the plans passed with five votes in favor and three votes in opposition.

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