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Common council stops Mansion Hill redevelopment

Common council stops Mansion Hill redevelopment

The Madison Common Council upheld a ruling by the City Landmarks Commission early Wednesday morning to halt a redevelopment project in the Mansion Hill Historic District.

Steve Brown Apartments wants to knock down the 10-story Highlander building and other structures to make room for three five-story buildings in the 100 block of Gilman Street.

The landmarks commission said it was out of scale and the council upheld their ruling after debating until 2 a.m. Wednesday morning during the Tuesday-night meeting.

A statement from Steve Brown CEO Margaret Watson said the company is saddened by the council's decision.

"Ultimately we believe that the city will discover that if it is serious about preserving its historic spaces, it will modernize the ordinances," Watson said. "We are concerned about the need to keep the district healthy and intent to examine these issues in depth."

Students compete in high school mock trial semifinals

Students compete in high school mock trial semifinals

Teams from 16 Wisconsin high schools will compete in the Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Semifinals at the Dane County Courthouse in Madison on Sunday, March 9, at 8 a.m.

The Mock Trial program provides high school students with an opportunity to act as attorneys and witnesses in a court case developed by State Bar members. In teams, students argue a criminal case before a panel of volunteer attorneys and judges in the regional competitions.

The two finalists will compete for the state title on Monday. The state winner will advance to the National Mock Trial Competition, which will also be held in Madison this May.

Students from the following schools will be participating in the semifinals:

County, city discuss possible day shelter for homeless

County, city discuss possible day shelter for homeless

Dane County could make a deal on a new permanent day shelter for the homeless in the next couple of weeks.

Officials said the push for finding a place for the homeless is because there are so many people still trying to get on their feet after the recession.

The ideal location would be in the immediate downtown area so the homeless can have quick access to services to help them get jobs and get back on their feet. But as the real estate market bounces back, properties that fit the county's needs and fit into the $600,000 budget have been scarce.

As a result, their focus has turned to properties some distance from the city center, like the MARC East building on Lien Road.

"Part of the answer is that the homeless are everywhere in Dane County and everywhere in the city of Madison. But there are many services that are centralized in the central part of Madison, and a building like MARC would require a substantial transportation plan," Hendrick said.

$24M pavilions to replace Alliant Energy Center's barns

$24M pavilions to replace Alliant Energy Center's barns

Dane County will replace the Alliant Energy Center’s barns with multi-use pavilions in a $24 million project set to begin early next year.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Tuesday that the county will award a Middleton construction company a nearly $20.7 million contract to build the pavilions. 

The project is pending funding approval from the Wisconsin State Building Commission and the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

Middleton-based Miron Construction will build the pavilions that will create 290,000 square feet of multi-use space on the footprint of the Alliant Energy Center’s existing barns, according to a news release from Parisi’s office.

Demolition of the barns is expected to begin next year, with the project’s estimated completion in time for the 2014 World Dairy Expo.

Madison park project goes back to drawing board

Madison park project goes back to drawing board

It's back to the drawing board for those creating a vision for Madison's Public Market.

Mayor Paul Soglin said the project may not be downtown and everything is back on the table. Soglin introduced a new consultant Tuesday who's beginning a new business plan for the proposed park.

Developing a new business plan could take six to eight months.

"We want to find a place for this that fits the vision and the program of uses and activities, and actual elements that will be in the market. We want a place that supports that," said Steve Davies, senior vice president of Project for Public Spaces.

The public will be invited to weigh in on the consultant's review, which is expected to cost $250,000.

DPI announces school-funding numbers

DPI announces school-funding numbers

The Department of Public Instruction released school-funding numbers Tuesday, and 183 districts will see an increase in state aid. Another 239 districts, including the Madison Metropolitan School District, will see a decrease in state aid.

Total aid given to districts has increased by a total of $47.9 million from the last school year bringing the total school funding budget to $4.342 billion, according to a release.

Funding for Madison will drop 14.5 percent compared to last year. The district will get $49.9 million from the state, which is about $9 million less than last year.

Off-duty officers attend Capitol sing-along

Off-duty officers attend Capitol sing-along

Capitol police made arrests at the daily Capitol singalong Tuesday, but they did not arrest three off-duty Madison police officers who joined the crowd.

Those off-duty cops said they are not flouting the law, but instead supporting both free speech and the Capitol police officers who are doing their job under the dome.

The Department of Administration said 10 people were arrested at the singalong Tuesday, but they did not arrest the officers wearing "Cops for Labor" shirts.

"As a police officer, I saw what they were doing as being unconstitutional," said Officer David Dexheimer. "It is aggressive policing that is ineffective to their goal and I believe these arrests are politically motivated and furthering an agenda that police shouldn't have to take part in."

Officer Brian Austin said the Capitol officers lost collective bargaining rights under Act 10 and have no recourse to show concern about the actions they're carrying out.