This is an urgent request to Madison Public Market supporters! If you believe in the Public Market and its’ potential to be an amazing resource for small businesses as well as its’ future as a beloved Madison destination, the time is now to write to your City of Madison alder. Once again, we’ve reached a critical, make-or-break situation.
“What’s up?”, you may ask. Here goes:
The City’s Engineering Department sent the Market’s construction project out to bid a few months ago, with an estimated budget of $12.5 million. When the bids were opened on September 14, the lowest construction bid received is about $15.2 million. To close this gap in funds available, alders will introduce amendments to the 2023 Capital Budget. Amendments make note of an effort by Dane County to provide $1M in additional funding. Also, upon approval, the City is authorized to seek reimbursement via TID funding. The primary amendment requests an additional $2.2M from City funds; the secondary amendment requests $1.6M.
A vote on funding will occur at the October 17 Common Council meeting. Approval requires the affirmative vote of 15 council members. You can read more about the alders’ efforts here. The construction bid process closes on October 24. If funds are not identified, the bid will not be awarded, and the Market will be delayed, possibly forever.
Alders need to hear from you regarding why you think that providing the necessary funds are essential. We ask that you encourage alders to approve the request for $2.2M, as this will allow for important improvements to the facility that will greatly enhance the visitor experience. Your voice is critical to convincing them that the Market has substantial public support.
Please write to your alder as soon as possible, and well before the October 17 Common Council meeting.
Here’s a sample message for you to copy and send, although we encourage you to write your own personal note:
I write in support of efforts to provide the necessary funds critical to the construction of the Madison Public Market. The Market, along with the TruStage MarketReady Hall food-related entrepreneur space will provide essential business services to women, members of the BIPOC community, and first-generation immigrants seeking inexpensive business start-up opportunities. The Market offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a fun, lasting and highly regarded public benefit.
Need some more important messages for the alders? Here are some important facts.
The vacant Fleet Services building, in the heart of the vibrant Capitol East neighborhood, is the gateway to downtown, close to the airport and the interstate and will spur economic growth and activity for the surrounding area. The building’s vibrant art-filled atmosphere will be Madison’s next great public place. Repurposing an ideally suited City-owned building makes economic sense and promotes sustainability.
The former Fleet Services building’s 45,000 square feet allows for one of the largest and most unique markets in the Midwest. Re-purposing a building in great shape that the City already owns makes more economic sense, and is more environmentally sustainable, than building new.
The building’s open space with no columns, 2-story high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows covering nearly all of its outer walls allows for ample natural light. Its’ unique retro feel will make for a very fun atmosphere. The location has a high volume of traffic, benefits from excellent transit access, and sits along the Mifflin Street Bicycle Corridor. It is adjacent to Burr Jones Park as well as the Yahara River.
The Market will have a significant positive economic impact – creating jobs for young adults, seniors and the employment disadvantaged while supporting new businesses. The benefit to the regional economy is estimated at $21 million per year. This accounts for the ripple effects of the jobs and economic activity that will occur at the market. Over 250 businesses have stated formal interest in renting a space.
The proposed site is in the vicinity of many low-income persons who would benefit greatly from the market’s healthy foods and employment opportunities. Is part of the densely populated and growing Capitol East District economic corridor. According to the analysis, the site offers the best economic opportunity for local artisans and entrepreneurs in terms of disposable income available to residents in the immediate area.
The Public Market and TruStage MarketReady Hall will be a place where an entrepreneur with a unique idea for a new food product, or a new business idea, can launch their business and bring that idea to reality. The emphasis is on allowing these small businesses to rent space on a part-time, low commitment and low overhead basis.