Downtown Madison needs to invigorate and diversify its nighttime economy, according to a draft report prepared by an outside consultant. This includes creating a new management team, improving transit options (did somebody say trolley?), enhancing public safety, doing a better job of integrating retail and entertainment, and shifting from a drinking culture to a socializing one (we'll drink to that!).
"This is a pretty cool thing," says Susan Schmitz of Downtown Madison Inc. "We're trying to change the way we do business in the entertainment areas."
DMI joined with the city of Madison and several corporate partners to come up with $15,000 for the Responsible Hospitality Institute of Santa Cruz, Calif. The draft report, which will be finalized next month, grew out of a series of roundtable discussions that will continue even now that the consultant's work is done.
"The best part about this process is the people who are at the table talking to each other," says Schmitz of an effort that included police, bar owners and neighborhood reps. "It's not real big, fancy, sexy stuff, but it's people talking to each other."
Schmitz expects it will take another six months for her group to produce an action plan. "We have to decide how to move forward and how we put some of these new ways of doing business in place."
For the draft report, see the related downloads at top right. City officials caution that the report contains errors and is subject to significant revision.