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"Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

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"Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby I am Jack's PO Box » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:41 pm

In an article about the new Central Park over at Madison.com [1], a Parks employee is quoted saying "We were able to acquire this property in downtown Madison...".

Later in the article, former mayor Sensenbrenner talks about enhancing the nearby neighborhood(s) and the name Central Park "emerging", though the article is light on how or from where the name came from.

Personally, when I think of "downtown" Madison, I think of an area from around Blair to the east to Park to the west. A phrase I've heard only recently, especially in press about the apartment building boom, is "Central city", which seems fair to define as far east as 1st St or the Yahara River and as far west as Midvale/Hilldale.

The design and use plans for Central Park seem like a great addition to both the surrounding neighborhoods and the city generally, but I am curious where the name "Central" Park came from. Similarly, whatever my opinion of where downtown is, it's interesting to hear a city employee describe Central Park as being in downtown Madison.

I've lived in Madison on (mostly) and off (less so) for the last 15 years. I'm curious how other people define downtown and "central city" and whether the city has an official opinion on the topic. As the boundaries of the city expand out, does the central city grow at a corresponding rate? Is Madison big enough to have a central city and a downtown that have overlapping-but-different boundaries?

This reminds me of a recent article about "up north". No one can say exactly where it begins, but it's always north of here. Where do you think downtown is?

[1] http://m.host.madison.com/ct/news/local ... fb0af.html
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby HawkHead » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:43 pm

Downtown starts for me at the UW campus and goes to the Yahara River.

Up north starts north of 8.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:58 pm

On Willy or Johnson, at that distance from the Capitol, I wouldn't call it "downtown." But the gravity of East Wash pulls at the boundary a bit, and with no single-family residential property between East Wash and Central Park, its proximity makes it feel less like the near-east Marquette neighborhood and a little more like "downtown." On the south side of East Wash, I'd be willing to cede everything inside that sweep of railroad track to "downtown."
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:01 pm

HawkHead wrote:Downtown starts for me at the UW campus and goes to the Yahara River.



Way too far east. Try this as a guide.

http://visitdowntownmadison.com/shop/se ... _type_id=6

Look around the site and it will give you an idea of what constitutes "downtown" It's economic based, but it's also how the city sells itself to outside tourists.

I remember back when I was a student people used to refer to the State Street area as "uptown" I never really knew what uptown meant.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby Ned Flanders » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:04 pm

Madison's "downtown" is pretty compact: Blair St./Bedford St.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:14 pm

Ned Flanders wrote:Madison's "downtown" is pretty compact: Blair St./Bedford St.


I'd agree with the Blair street cutoff along with Park or Randall on the west end. This part gets tricky because of campus, but if we include campus, that goes all the way down to the hospital.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby Ned Flanders » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:15 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Ned Flanders wrote:Madison's "downtown" is pretty compact: Blair St./Bedford St.


I'd agree with the Blair street cutoff along with Park or Randall on the west end. This part gets tricky because of campus, but if we include campus, that goes all the way down to the hospital.

Does that mean Central Park is NoBla?
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:33 pm

Ned Flanders wrote:NoBla


What the hell is NoBla.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby Ned Flanders » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:40 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Ned Flanders wrote:NoBla


What the hell is NoBla.

North of Blair. Is Madison big enough for directional nicknames yet?
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:56 pm

Ned Flanders wrote:Is Madison big enough for directional nicknames yet?


No.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby I am Jack's PO Box » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:59 pm

How about central city? I just saw that phrase used again in a Cap Times article about Madison's tallest buildings. Bigger than downtown? Smaller?

I don't know where all the buildings in the list are, but WARF is included, and I do know where that is -- pretty far west. (The tallest buildings list does not include the Weston Condos by Hilldale, if that is telling in any way).

Similarly, the Cap Times list includes Meriter but not St. Mary's, and that's just a handful of blocks difference.

Also, yes, to NoBla.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby fennel » Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:09 pm

If you look at the easily discernible tree cover on Google Maps, it appears the central urban area extends from the stadium to the the Yahara — or at least including the central corridor between the Capitol and the Yahara.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby gargantua » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:04 pm

As to the name Central Park, the site is kinda/sorta in the center of isthmus between the two lakes. It's somewhat south of center, but close enough.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby HawkHead » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:12 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
HawkHead wrote:Downtown starts for me at the UW campus and goes to the Yahara River.



Way too far east. Try this as a guide.

http://visitdowntownmadison.com/shop/se ... _type_id=6

Look around the site and it will give you an idea of what constitutes "downtown" It's economic based, but it's also how the city sells itself to outside tourists.

I remember back when I was a student people used to refer to the State Street area as "uptown" I never really knew what uptown meant.


I grew up on the far West Side of Madison. So that is how Madison is to me. East Towne and the Milwaukee St post office were the East Side. I know there are a lot of neighborhoods on that side of town and is a large area but that is what downtown is to me.
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Re: "Downtown" Madison (and "Central" Park)

Postby Ducatista » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:41 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Ned Flanders wrote:Is Madison big enough for directional nicknames yet?

No.

Sure it is. We already have a TriBeCa.

HawkHead wrote:Downtown starts for me at the UW campus and goes to the Yahara River.

Up north starts north of 8.

I'm with you on all counts, including Hwy 8.

We live an inch from the Square and refer to our old apartments on the 800 blocks of Jenifer and Spaight as the suburbs, but really, that neighborhood feels like downtown to me.

You Blair St people: you really don't consider Tenney and Orton to be downtown parks? Hell, a third of James Madison is east of Blair.
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