The City Council voted Tuesday night to include the development of the public market in the Capital Budget.
After extensive deliberations, the council voted in favor of an amendment that would move planning for a $14 million public market up to 2017, with construction in 2018-19.
The council also voted to move an amendment that would provide greater flexibility to respond before 2016 to new Judge Doyle Square proposals. Construction of a midtown police station was approved for 2016 and 2017, with full staffing occurring in 2018.
Talk of revitalizing a public market plan first arose Monday at a news conference addressing the closure of the Oscar Mayer site.
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Speaking in favor of the public market, Mayor Paul Soglin emphasized the importance of taking advantage of the eligible site and encouraging the food economy, especially given the recent loss of the Oscar Mayer plant in Madison.
“Great cities, if you think about them, were founded created on the notion of aggregation, communication and transportation around food,” Soglin said.
Ald. Rebecca Kemble, District 18, also spoke in support of the public market, citing the increased number of jobs in a vibrant food economy as crucial to the community.
The Dane County Farmers’ Market is the largest producers-only farmers’ market in the country, with additional markets around the county nearly every day of the week, Kemble said. The merchants at these markets need more opportunities for their products, she said.
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“This is about jobs,” Kemble said. “Real jobs that are based in a real economy that are based on actual demand.”
Though the amendment concerning the public market was passed, several concerns were brought up during the discussion, including food deserts and other priorities that the budget supports.
Though the public market will be an addition to the strong food economy in Madison, it will not directly address the issue of food deserts throughout the city, Ald. Denise DeMarb, District 16, said.
“It is not to say that there won’t be lots of jobs and people employed at the public market, but it’s not going to solve the ills we have with food deserts in this city,” DeMarb said. “By putting money into this, does this mean that other things will have to wait?”
The amendment to the Capital Budget passed 16-4.
Judge Doyle Square
The amendment pertaining to Judge Doyle Square removes $12 million previously agreed to go to Exact Sciences for job assistance and $10 million in cash-flow borrowing that was anticipated due to the project, Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said. It also allows for increased flexibility for the city to respond to potential Judge Doyle Square proposals in 2016.
The Judge Doyle Square amendment passed 12-7.
Midtown Police Station
The midtown police station amendment created the funding for the construction of this police station in 2016 and 2017, with staffing for the new positions beginning in 2017.
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Several community members spoke in favor of the midtown police station, emphasizing the need to focus on public safety. The station will allow for Madison Police Department to better serve the overcrowded west district.
The midtown police district amendment passed unanimously.