Common council approves public market with funding conditions

Big budget items pit neighbors, city leaders against one another

Madison’s Common Council approved a public market with a couple conditions at a meeting Tuesday night.

The $14 million public market would be built in 2019, but the council voted to approve the funding only if the city is able to secure about $10 million in private funding.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said as he talked with Gov. Scott Walker about the Oscar Mayer plant closing, the two had another conversation about the public market.

Soglin’s and several council members said the public market will create an agriculture hub and hundreds of jobs for Madison.

“The discussion of what’s happening with the public market was brought up and what you read in the newspaper is correct. The governor is giving serious consideration to the state’s role in supporting regional markets here in Wisconsin,” Soglin said.

“The mayor’s vision and others involved in that is to have food processors and other related companies as part of that market. Not just a retail outlet. And that is something we are very interested in,” Walker said.

While there was enthusiasm for the project, concerns from council members included that the market will not be able to serve areas in the city that are food deserts and that the city will have to move their shop that fixes city vehicles.

The council also set aside about $35 million to help with future Judge Doyle Square development after Exact Sciences decided to back out of the project.

Officials also said because of action at a board of estimates meeting, plans for the new Midtown Police Station are already moving forward.