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$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.

Volunteers join city staff in inventory of city's natural spaces

Volunteers join city staff in inventory of city's natural spaces

In an effort to manage and maintain the undeveloped land areas of the Madison park system, the city’s Parks and Engineering divisions recently initiated a citywide inventory.

Simon Widstrand, a retired conservation supervisor and planner for the City of Madison Parks Division, is working with other volunteers and city staff to inventory Madison's 4,000 acres of natural land to apply standard maintenance practices and prevent these areas from deteriorating or being overrun by invasive species.

"Most people embrace a land ethic that requires us to care for our land," Widstrand said. "To leave something for future generations, and to protect our investment, we should provide good stewardship of our natural lands. The inventory is the first step of developing a  plan for the city and volunteers to manage and restore more city natural areas."

City gears up for leaf collection

The City of Madison Streets Division announced it will be prepping crews for clean-up now that leaves are starting to fall in Madison.

According to a release from the division, street crews will be working 10 hours a day starting Nov. 11 and are expected to work weekends if needed. There will be at least 20 crews cleaning streets all over town.

Residents are being asked to rake leaves to the curb as soon as possible so crews can pick them up.

In addition to fall leaves, crews will also be picking up garden waste and pumpkins as a part of the collection service. Mixed piles of brush and leaves will not be collected.

Residents can also bring leaves, brush and garden waste to the city's drop off sites at:

  • 1501 W. Badger Road
  • 4602 Sycamore Ave.
  • 402 South Point Road

Sites are open every day of the week until 4:30 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Sites will be open until Dec. 8.

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.

Parks Division asks for input on James Madison Park improvements

Parks Division asks for input on James Madison Park improvements

A public input meeting has been scheduled by the city of Madison Parks Division to discuss potential improvements at James Madison Park.

City staff will present information, answer questions and seek input from neighbors on proposed improvements, according to a release.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Verex Plaza, Level B Conference Room, at 150 E. Gilman St.

Anyone who has questions or comments but is unable to attend the meeting can contact Mike Sturm, City Parks landscape architect at 608-261-4281 or msturm@cityofmadison.com.

Advisories on eating fish from local lakes may not be reaching all

Advisories on eating fish from local lakes may not be reaching all

Fish from Madison’s lakes contain contaminants that can pose adverse health effects to people who consume them. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has issued recommendations suggesting that people limit their consumption of fish caught in the lakes.

Yet those advisories may not be reaching everyone, especially low-income people and minority groups, who are more likely to eat fish from the city’s lakes. Moreover, programs to spread the word about the hazards have been limited or cut in response to limited resources.

“Given the hard economic times, I suspect more people than ever are fishing for food -- predominantly lower income and minority (people),” said Maria C. Powell, an environmental scientist and president of the advocacy group, Midwest Environmental Justice Organization. A recent rise in consumption may be leading to disparities in contaminant exposure, which can have long-term health consequences.

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.