Dear Editor: As a potential vendor, I write in support of the proposed Madison Public Market. With the economic damage resulting from COVID-19 and closure of many State Street businesses, this is an essential opportunity for the region’s diverse complement of small growers, producers, artists and entrepreneurs.
By early 2022, the market will provide jobs and advancement opportunities for 30-plus permanent small business vendors, with a focus on minority and female entrepreneurs through the MarketReady program. Flexible daily, weekly, or monthly vending stalls will support another 100-plus small businesses.
Supplemental income from fixed retail establishments, restaurants, bars and special events will make the market profitable. Importantly, the Madison Public Market Foundation will operate the market, assuming the entity’s financial risks.
The soon-to-be vacant Fleet Services Building at East Johnson and First Street is ideally suited in location and design. The foundation has raised $3 million in private support, is on track to raise more, and is anxious to assume facility operations.
These are difficult economic times. Mayor Rhodes-Conway has expressed concern over pending city budget deficits. I remind her and Common Council members that the city’s proposed $7 million investment is not from the general fund or debt service. Instead, monies are allocated from TID District #36, requiring funding be invested in economic development projects for the East Washington corridor. I ask that this amount be retained fully in the 2021 capital budget.
The Madison Public Market project is shovel ready. Now, when our community is most in need, we are fortunate to have a project that will uplift small businesses and provide equitable economic opportunities to everyone, and especially to minority entrepreneurs.
Please join me in advocating for Madison’s next great venue, the vibrant food, fun and art-filled Public Market.
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