In an attempt to secure $3 million for the public market project, Madison will apply for a federal grant to replace a stream of funding that has declined in value because of the pandemic.
Madison’s City Council signed off Tuesday on a resolution that authorizes the city to apply to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for a grant to help fund the construction of a $13 million public market.
The nonprofit Madison Public Market Foundation, which will run the market, is preparing an application in partnership with the city. Economic Development Director Matt Mikolajewski said that the foundation has determined through conversations with the EDA that the market would be competitive for the funding.
The resolution also commits the city to provide matching funds and authorizes the mayor and city clerk to contract with the EDA to accept the funding if it is awarded.
“We believe that the EDA funding may have more favorable terms for the city and the project,” Mikolajewski said in an email.
As proposed, the market construction would be funded with $7 million in tax increment financing from a taxing district along East Washington Avenue, $3 million in private donations and $3 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits.
But the tax credits have become a “potentially insufficient funding source” because tax credit pricing has declined due to market changes.
In the 2020 budget, Rhodes-Conway proposed changing the local funding source for the public market to the taxing district. Though funding sources were in question, the 2021 Executive Capital Budget proposal does not propose any changes to what is already appropriated for the project.
The year-round public market aims to be a business incubator for new entrepreneurs and feature local vendors offering fresh produce, culturally diverse prepared foods and handcrafted goods.
If construction starts early next year, the market could open in 2022. But if construction begins later in 2021, the opening could be closer to early 2023.
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