Residents of the West Mifflin neighborhood met Wednesday with Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, to address concerns for the proposed renovation plans of the Mifflin Street area.
According to Verveer, there are currently two competing proposals for renovating Mifflin Street. The first plan requires buildings being torn down because of aesthetic or structural problems to be replaced with buildings of a similar look and character.
The second plan would entail the older houses on Mifflin to be replaced with larger “high-rise” developments that would utilize the full size of the lots. The developments would be around six stories high and greatly increase population density.
Attendees at the meeting were all highly in favor of keeping the character of Mifflin Street as it is.
“We don’t want [Madison] to look like New York City,” Mifflin Street resident Diane Broughman said.
Verveer said he is also strongly against building high rises on Mifflin Street.
“I really cherish the scale of houses … on Mifflin Street,” Verveer said.
If plans to allow high-rise developments were approved, Verveer said he believes developers would try to build to the maximum height and width possible.
Non-student residents of the neighborhood appeared very excited to work with student groups to keep the character of the neighborhood.
“If we can build a coalition with [the Associated Students of Madison], that would be a great start,” Mifflin Street resident Larry Warman said after hearing of the amount of student interest.
Attendee Rick Broughman was against the group forming any official position until they had talked to everyone who cares about the neighborhood, especially interested students.
Verveer said he believes the goal of the developers is to make the neighborhood not as accessible to students.
“I don’t want the neighborhood gentrified to the point that students are kicked out,” Verveer said. “I think if there’s any part of the campus that has a sense of community … it’s Mifflin.”
Verveer also spoke about potential ways the annual Mifflin Street Block Party could be affected by the new plans. He believes the block party tradition would not be the same among high-rise buildings.
“I, for one, actually think that the tradition of the 40 years of celebration of the end of the school year — the beginning of spring — is a cool one,” Verveer said.
The plans are currently in the staff recommendation phase. The city planning division is meeting three times per week to draft a plan, which they will introduce in early December at a meeting at the Overture Center.
Verveer stressed the importance of getting involved now before the plans are presented, adding there is much opportunity for students to get involved in the planning.
“I’m really excited about ASM’s involvement in this,” Verveer said. “I’m thrilled with the level of student interest.”
A meeting is scheduled for Oct. 20 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. TITU for any students interested in voicing their opinion about the Mifflin Street plans.