As south Madison faces development pressure and is poised to welcome residents from the town of Madison, the city is beginning a planning effort to shape the area over the next 10 to 15 years.
Jeff Greger, a land planning mapping specialist with the city, said the more than year-long process will aim to reach community members in a variety of ways, from meetings to walking tours. The first community meeting is Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Catholic Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld St.
“It’s a listening session for the community to come out and tell the city what’s working in their community, what’s not working in South Madison, what their vision for the future 10 years down the road is,” Greger said.
A light meal, childcare and Spanish and Hmong interpreters will be available at the event.
The year-long planning effort will update the plan adopted in 2005 and ultimately form recommendations for South Madison and the current town of Madison, which will be absorbed into the city in 2022. With the dissolution of the town, the city will gain approximately 5,000 people, 6,000 acres, 1,400 parcels, and public facilities and infrastructure.
In addition to the impending annexation, South Madison is susceptible to becoming too expensive for its current residents, according to a city draft report on equitable development.
“It is one of the most affordable areas in the city of Madison to live and one of the biggest challenges of this planning effort will be overcoming gentrification,” Greger said. “We’re really concerned about that.”
As defined in the report, gentrification occurs when market-driven racial and socio-economic factors reconfigure urban communities that have suffered from a history of disinvestment. Displacement occurs when households are forced to move or are prevented from moving into a neighborhood due to conditions beyond their ability to control or prevent, such as rent increases.
“This plan is going to look at ways that change in South Madison can benefit the community who lives there — whether it be affordable housing, jobs or improved public transportation — with minimum or no displacement of people and businesses that are in that area,” Greger said.
A portion of the study area is eligible for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which is available to areas that have over 51% of individuals whose income is half of the median income or less.
“It opens up the ability to get CDBG funding for infrastructure-type projects,” Greger said.
Members of the public can participate in the following events to learn more about the planning process:
- The second community meeting will take place Oct. 21 from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Urban League of Greater Madison, 2222 S. Park. St.
- The third community meeting will take place Nov. 21 from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Villager Mall, 2300 S. Park St.
- Madison Arts Coordinator Karin Wolf will lead a public-art focused tour of three locations Sept. 24 with a follow-up session Oct. 22 from 6 p..m to 7:45 p.m. Participants can sign up online and will meet at the Goodman South Library, 2222 S. Park St.
- Madison Pedestrian Bicycle Administrator will lead a bike tour of South Madison. Participants can meet at 1 p.m. at the Goodman South Library. Those who prefer not to bike can meet at the library at 2:30 p.m.
“We’re really trying to put forth a robust public participation strategy,” Greger said.
More information can be found online through the project website.