Public helps kick-start design plans for downtown Madison - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Public helps kick-start design plans for State Street and Library Mall

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The City of Madison thinks the 700-800 blocks of State Street are looking too "seventies."

"If you go on the 700-800 blocks, you can tell it's kind of 70s era-ish and really what we're trying to do is create a more flexible, timeless space," said Chris Petykowski of the City of Madison Engineering.

Next spring, the city wants to start reconstruction of the area, revamping the pedestrian walkway between Lake Street and Park Street and the Library Mall area. The State Street portion alone will cost upwards of $5 million.

Before beginning the design process, the city asked the public to weigh in on how to revamp the area during a meeting on Tuesday.

"We're starting the planning process and trying to get an idea of what the project should be, could be, see what people's interests are, what's working, what's not working," Petykowski said.

This includes gathering opinions from the thousands of students who use the walkway every day:

"I'd just like to see more green spaces," said UW-Madison student Taylor Lauzon.

"Probably more bike access because I've noticed bikes are not allowed. It would make it a lot easier to get through here," said UW-Madison student Kristen Petranek, who also likes the idea of having more food carts.

Some other did not favor any construction.

"I think it'd be great if the university spent less money on infrastructure improvements and beautification of campus and more in instructional and operational costs," UW-Madison student Darien Lamen said.

District 8 alder Scott Resnick, however, contends that the project is more structural than superficial.

"The conduits very much need replacing, whether it's the pipes underneath the ground to make sure we have proper water. We also have a lot of issues with drainage, particularly on the corner of east campus mall and State Street," Resnick said.

The City of Madison plans to use the public's input and unveil a preliminary design plan in June, and begin construction next year.  

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