Dane County is moving forward with a new public/private partnership that could help bring fresh food and jobs to one of south Madison's so-called "food deserts" in the Southdale Neighborhood.
Urban Assets has been selected to receive a $31,700 county grant to develop a feasibility study for a small neighborhood-scale market in the area. Based on research and input from food industry experts, the project team would develop a concept design, operational model and a financing plan, according to a Dane County news release.
The goal of the new partnership, the South Madison Food Enterprise (SMFE) project, is to develop a market feasibility plan for a neighborhood-based food enterprise to meet the needs of area residents, employees and employers, identify an owner/operator, and help in developing the new facility.
"This new partnership holds exciting possibilities for innovation and economic development in a neighborhood that is already growing in great ways,"Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a news release. "The expansion of access to fresh local foods, and needed job creation, proves that we can continue to achieve great things when we work together."
County officials said the size of the fresh market facility could range from 5,000-15,000 square feet and add up to 20 full-time jobs, depending on the results of feasibility and market research and work with industry stakeholders.
The food enterprise will be located on Rimrock Road in the Town of Madison, on Alexander Company's Novation Campus. Phase I of the project will engage area residents and work with the community to survey residents and employees, conduct a market analysis and review existing small food enterprise models, according to the release.
The goal of Phase II is development of the site that would come with additional support in grant funding through Dane County, and development assistance from the Alexander Company.