Many thanks to the State Journal and reporter Shelley Mesch for recent coverage of the proposed redevelopment of the Alliant Energy Center campus.

Release of the draft master plan is just the next step in moving the project from drawing board to reality. Many share the vision of transforming this underutilized asset into economic engine for Dane County and the adjoining neighborhoods in south Madison.

Over a 30-year period, the project is expected to generate $3.5 billion in new spending, create 1,400 or more full-time jobs and lead to nearly $124 million in new local taxes.

Imagine expanded Expo space, an upgraded Coliseum and a surface parking lot turned into tree-lined walkable space featuring new hotels, restaurants and shopping.

But I do want to emphasize the eye-popping “upwards of $300 million” cost figure in your headline is simply a long-term estimate that hinges on attracting private dollars. Public dollars would make up about 40 percent of the total projected investment in the 164-acre, county-owned campus.

Still, without some level of public support expert consultants warn that the Alliant Energy Center will eventually turn into a fiscal drain on taxpayers. The question then isn’t whether to move forward but when.

Sharon Corrigan, Middleton, Dane County Board chair

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