A site for a new State Street parking ramp may be chosen by the end of the month and construction could begin next year, according to a downtown business association and Madison city officials.
Downtown Madison Inc. President Susan Schmitz said her organization is looking at two different locations near the intersection of State and Gorham streets for the parking facility. One possible site would be the present Buckeye Lot next to Pizzeria Uno, 222 W. Gorham St. The other is at the corner of Broom and Gorham streets, kitty-corner from Riley's Wines of the World, 402 W. Gorham St.
Schmitz said she would meet with downtown Alds. Mike Verveer, District 4, and Todd Jarrell, District 8, soon and hoped a consensus on a site could be reached quickly.
'We would like to have this wrapped up by the end of the month if we could,' Schmitz said.
Planning for a mid-State Street parking structure has been delayed in the past because area business owners and residents have been unable to agree on a location for it.
'You don't want to be displacing people who don't want to be displaced,' Schmitz said.
The new push for more State Street parking comes as Mayor Sue Bauman announced the allocation of $1.38 million in her proposed city capital budget for the acquisition of land, planning and site preparation for the ramp. But the mayor is waiting for State Street businesses to agree on a site.
'It's important for the business community to weigh in and express a preference,' said Ryan Mulcahy, an aide to Bauman.
Since the city already owns the Buckeye Lot, that site would cost the city less for land acquisition, Mulcahy said, although adjacent land would have to be purchased.
In addition, 'State Street business owners are tending to support the Buckeye Lot,' Verveer said, adding that he would not support the demolition of Cue-nique Billiards, 317 W. Gorham St. to place the ramp on the Broom Street site.
'I personally do not want to revisit the fight we had in '95,' Verveer said, referring to the defeat of a proposal to tear down Cue-nique to build a parking ramp six years ago.
Any construction on the Buckeye Lot site would not disturb the building housing Pizzeria Uno and Bop, 222 W. Gorham St., or the historic King House, 212 W. Gorham St., Schmitz said.
'We would go in the back there,' Schmitz said. 'There are some rental homes that are in pretty bad shape back there.'
A drawback of the Buckeye Lot location is that it there isn't much space, she added.
'The disadvantage of the Buckeye Lot is it's tight,' Schmitz said. 'It's a tight spot.'