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Thursday, January 29, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 32.0° F  Overcast
The Daily
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Citizen Dave: Idea of the Week... a way to revive the Edgewater
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The city could simply build the rooftop park as it would any city park.
The city could simply build the rooftop park as it would any city park.

With each passing day it becomes more certain that the $16 million in a tax incremental financing loan for the Edgewater will evaporate when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve.

But there might be a way to move forward even without the TIF loan.

The first thing to understand is that the city support was going to create the public space on the rooftop of the building, a space similar to the Monona Terrace rooftop. And there was also TIF support for the creation of underground parking, which might benefit the neighborhood by creating more parking in a tight urban setting.

So, here's the idea (actually two ideas).

The city could simply build the rooftop park as it would any city park. After all, it will sit on land that is already city right-of-way extending to the lake from Wisconsin Avenue and that part of the city is park deficient as it is. There also may be revenues for this purpose set aside from developer fees. The city could negotiate an agreement with the hotel developer on when the park could be used for hotel events in exchange for the developer paying for, say, half of the cost of construction.

The other idea is to build some or all of the parking as a city parking utility project, with the city issuing bonds for construction paid back by revenues the parking utility would collect at the new Edgewater ramp.

These two ideas would essentially get us to the same outcome, allow the project to go forward, and do it within city TIF guidelines, the bending of which caused so much angst (unnecessarily, I thought) a few weeks ago.

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