Thursday, August 28, 2014  |   Madison, WI: 64.0° F  
CITIZEN DAVE: Thoughts and ideas about city building from Madison's former mayor
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Citizen Dave: Madison's community centers are worth the investment by the city -- and you
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East Madison Community Center
East Madison Community Center

One of the strengths of Madison is its great community centers. I've been pretty critical of Mayor Paul Soglin's 2013 budget proposal, but one thing he deserves credit for is the $2 million he has budgeted for community center building and expansion.

That is a trend we started several years ago. Before I was convinced to put capital resources into the new Lussier Community Education Center near West Towne, the city had not usually invested in the actual bricks and mortar of community centers. (We did help out with program funding.) But the truth is that for all the good works that can take place in any kind of space, a good community center will have the gyms, kitchens, meeting rooms, and other inviting spaces that make the place a draw.

We followed up the Lussier investment with contributions to the building of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County on Allied Drive, the Goodman Community Center on Atwood, the Urban League of Greater Madison economic development offices, and the fledgling, but extremely valuable MSCR Meadowood Neighborhood Center on Raymond Road on the south west side. There was so much pressure to keep it going that I funded a study in my last budget to determine where the next investment should be made, and I put money in the long-range capital plan to build one. Soglin is now carrying that forward.

I bring this up today because tomorrow, Saturday, November 10, is the 16th annual Bowl-a-Thon for the East Madison Community Center. I participated in that event as a "celebrity bowler" for years. I was told that my bowling provided people with hours of amusement. I refused the offer of bumpers.

I can't attend this year, but you should. You can sign up, get in some bowling and help a good cause.

Have a good weekend.

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