November 11, 2019

Madison to support downtown master plan project - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Madison to support downtown master plan project

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 3:36 pm

The head of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation in Madison asked city commissioners on Monday to financially support the creation of a new master plan for downtown Madison.

Eric Fosheim, executive director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, presented a proposal to the commissioners that would have ISG Inc., a multi-state company with a Sioux Falls branch, create a development plan for central Madison. ISG describes itself as having experience with "master planning, streetscaping, landscape architecture, and transportation engineering."

The LAIC has partnership support from the local chamber, and Eric Hortness, executive director of the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, accompanied Fosheim to Monday's commissioners' meeting. Fosheim said they had worked during summer 2019 on developing a master plan that would "...focus on downtown Madison."

According to the master plan's supporters, the project would center on creating foot traffic in the downtown area, creating opportunities for economic development, and helping make central Madison a destination for people.

Fosheim said the supporters were given two options. The first option consists of a study that would focus on Egan Ave. from S. 2nd St. to N. 2nd St., costing $30,000. The second option would focus on Egan Ave. from S. 2nd St. to N. 9th St, an area that would include Dakota State University. The second option would cost $35,000.

Fosheim said DSU officials had signed onto the project, paying the additional $5,000. He said the project's supporters appreciated the university's partnership.

"We thought the value was there," Fosheim said.

LAIC and GMACC each committed to paying $10,000 for creating the master plan. The organizations asked the city of Madison to pay the remaining $10,000 to work as partner in the project.

According to Hortness, a new master plan would lay out the options for improvements to city residents. Fosheim added that the master plan could also help city officials with an update to Madison's comprehensive plan.

According to Fosheim, LAIC and chamber members had determined that Madison should sponsor a study that looks at improvements to the downtown area and "...areas of town that have to be improved and maintained."

The plan proposal indicated that ISG staff members will gather information about what the downtown area needs by collecting suggestions during a kickoff meeting and walking tour of the neighborhood. Their analysis will include the neighborhood's condition and design, access for visitors and events, and the condition of the existing infrastructure.

ISG and the project's sponsors plan to provide information and collect ideas though several options that include public open houses, online surveys and informal meetings.

By the project's completion, ISG is expected to deliver preliminary and final master plans, exhibits and a 3-D rendering, and preliminary and final cost estimates.

Commissioner Mike Waldner noted that such a plan could help the city apply for grants.

Jennifer Eimers, city finance officer, told the city commissioners that Madison had the funds available in its downtown improvement reserve. Waldner made a motion to contribute up to $10,000 toward the master plan project.

George Lee, a Madison resident, asked the commissioners about the amounts of money that Madison provides for the economic-development corporation and the chamber. He was told that the city provided $140,000 to LAIC in 2019 and another $120,000 in 2019 to the Forward Madison economic-development program. The GMACC received $85,000 from the city in 2019. The funding to the organizations is expected to remain the same in 2020.

Lee said the taxpayers were paying the money to support the organizations and the master plan project.

Commissioner Jeremiah Corbin pointed out that Madison businesses also support the local chamber through their annual fees. Hortness said the annual fees are a major portion of the chamber's funding.

The commissioners voted to financially support the master plan project.

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