An ‘integrated, pedestrian-oriented district’: What city planners want for the old Oscar Mayer plant

Madison city planners are learning more about the future for the old Oscar Mayer plant.

City staff went over the plans Monday at the Plan Commission meeting. They want to use the buildings that are still there to create retail, commercial and residential space that is part of an “integrated, pedestrian-oriented district.”

They also are working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to preserve the wetlands that are there and create a park around them.

When Oscar Mayer closed in 2016, it left a big employment hole in the city, and city staff is letting that help shape what they want to see here.

“Employment’s always been a big focus, not just the employees that were lost at Oscar Mayer, but all those local businesses that those neighbors supported,” said Dan McAuliffe, a city planner on the project. “Maintaining the area as an employment center is certainly very important.”

There are two drafts for the plans that city planners are working to combine into one before Common Council approves the final draft. Main differences exist in transit routes around the 425-acre property, which will be developed as the city also works on a bus rapid transit plan.

Commissioners and commenters at the Plan Commission hearing Monday also asked for more conservation of the Hartmeyer Natural Area. McAuliffe said all wetlands the city is aware of are included in both draft plans.

The city is encouraging the public to learn more about the project on its website and give feedback here.

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