UPDATE: City committees consider buying building for new communi - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: City committees consider buying building for new community center near Elver Park

Posted: Updated: Jul 07, 2014 04:06 PM

MADISON (WKOW) – The City of Madison is still considering whether to turn an abandoned restaurant on McKenna Boulevard into a neighborhood center serving Madison's southwest side.

The proposal, originally introduced to the council last week by Ald. Lisa Subeck, calls for the city to spend roughly $469-thousand to buy the old Griff's restaurant across from Elver Park.

Subeck said transforming the building into a neighborhood center would provide programs for local students, a place for adults and senior citizens to gather, and possibly even job training for those who seek it. The latter would take advantage of the former restaurant's commercial kitchen space, Subeck said.

Subeck said those services are all needed in a neighborhood containing mostly duplexes that house a diverse population of owners and renters.

There are many, many more renters in this neighborhood and many more low or moderate income families in the neighborhood,” Subeck said.

Subeck added there has also been a dramatic spike in the number of children in the neighborhood recently.

Those kids need somewhere to go,” she said.

Next door to the proposed neighborhood center, the Wisconsin Youth and Family Center provides an array of after-school and summer programs to middle and elementary school students. The center is jointly funded by the city and the non-profit, Wisconsin Youth Company.

Wisconsin Youth Company Executive Director Kay Stevens said her organization also provides some limited programming to high school students. But its primary focus is on younger kids. Stevens said the center does not offer programs to adults and/or senior citizens.

Thus Stevens said she envisions the WYFC and the proposed neighborhood center working together to better serve the area. She said she hopes the neighborhood center, if built, would cater to the older demographics.

When you look at the high school age, I think that jobs is a real need and job training,” Stevens said, who added she hopes the neighborhood center would provide job training opportunities for adults as well.

We're willing to support anything that brings resources into the neighborhood,” Stevens said.

The proposal to buy the building passed the city's planning commission Monday night. The board of estimates recommended referring it to the city's community services committee for further review.

The Mayor, who spoke in favor of the proposal at Monday's Board of Estimates meeting, has said he would like to see money to buy the building included in the 2015 city budget.

Subeck said it's too early to estimate how much the expected renovations to the building would cost. She said plans for the building's layout would be drafted if the proposal clears the city council.


MADISON (WKOW) – A pair of city committees will consider a proposal to buy an old restaurant near Elver Park and turn it into a community center to serve Madison's west side.

The proposal, introduced to the city council last week by Alder Lisa Subeck, calls for the city to buy the property on McKenna Road and turn it into a gathering space for surrounding neighborhoods.

The Madison Board of Estimates, as well as the city's Planning Commission, are scheduled to review the proposal Monday evening.

It would then be up to the Madison Common Council to make a final decision on purchasing the old, Griff's restaurant at 1233 McKenna Boulevard at a later date.

WKOW will more on this story coming up tonight on 27 News at 10.

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