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Madison’s 2022 capital budget continues taking shape

Madison’s 2022 capital budget continues taking shape

County Grove Park

County Grove Park, 7353 East Pass, could see new restroom facilities under a budget amendment recommended Monday by the Finance Committee.

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Madison’s Finance Committee refined the city’s 2022 capital budget Monday, recommending all but one change to Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s proposed spending plan.  

Budgeting for a new restroom facility at Country Grove Park on the west side and adding a condition to the city spending funds on the Reindahl Imagination Center in 2023 are among the recommended changes to the $355.3 million executive capital budget. 

Ald. Nasra Wehelie, District 7, sponsored the amendment to spend $100,000 next year and $1.55 million in 2023 for the design and construction of the facility at Country Grove Park, located at 7353 East Pass. She said the park sees the third-largest number of soccer field reservations in the city’s park system, and the lack of restrooms is a problem. 

“We hope people understand that this is a priority when kids are playing soccer,” Wehelie said.   

Though construction funds would be budgeted in 2023, Wehelie said the intent would be for construction to be complete by 2024. Parks superintendent Eric Knepp said the division’s work plan for next year is “very heavy” and construction in 2023 likely wouldn’t happen.  

On the Reindahl Imagination Center project, the committee recommended an amendment calling for the City Council to approve an operating cost plan for the center before spending $1.1 million on design work and construction in 2023.  

“I am uncomfortable approving an expense and not knowing what the ramification of approving an expense is,” said Ald. Keith Furman, District 19, noting that he supports the project. 

The proposed Reindahl Imagination Center aims to fill a gap in civic resources on the east side, providing a library, community space and other community services.   

Ald. Sheri Carter, District 14, unsuccessfully proposed changing the amendment to require the library director issue that report to the finance director, which would remove the extra City Council approval step. 

“My intentions are to ensure that this project continues forward even though we are adding the caveat of having an operating cost,” Carter said. “It doesn’t need to necessarily come back to us if our intention is ensuring that the library submits an operating cost.” 

On a 4-2 vote, the committee rejected an amendment that would have added a new $21.4 million Madison Police Department property and evidence facility into the five-year Capital Improvement Plan. 

The committee also recommended:  

  • Adding a new North District police station project to the Horizon List    
  • Adding $1 million to the general land acquisition budget to align with the projected available balance for the end of the year. Costs for improvements to support homeless services at properties the city might purchase at 2002 Zeier Road and 1902 Bartillon Drive are among the authorized uses for the funds.
  • Changing the funding source for bicycle and pedestrian improvements on Main Street
  • Updating details about continued improvements in Elver Park on the southwest side, including better access to park amenities and improved stormwater management 
  • Updating the Lake Monona Waterfront project description to reflect that previously approved funding will support planning efforts, including a design contest, next year 

Next up for the 2022 capital budget as amended includes a public hearing at the City Council’s Oct. 5 meeting, Then, the capital budget and operating budget are open during the first week in November for the City Council to make amendments. 

Those amendments will be considered during budget deliberations, which begin Nov. 9. 

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.

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