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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, June 21, 2024
Downtown Madison, WI
Downtown Madison, WI

Development proposal would connect Monona waterfront to Capitol Square

Despite its relatively close proximity to campus, most students rarely have the opportunity to venture out to the Lake Monona waterfront. That could change, however, with a recent design proposal that plans on connecting the area to the Capitol Square by creating an elevated park over John Nolen Drive, according to the Cap Times.

The proposal, dubbed the “Nolen Waterfront Vision,” was presented at a meeting of the Marquette Neighborhood Association’s Traffic Committee Monday.

The plan is designed to have two parks, both elevated, constructed above John Nolen Drive. The lower park would stand 10 feet below the upper park, and would house gardens, sculpture spaces and restaurants. The upper park would connect with the main lobby of the Monona Terrace Convention Center, and could serve host attractions such as an outdoor amphitheater or local festivals.

The plan, presented by the Madison Design Professionals Workgroup, was first designed in 2014 to exist at ground level, but that plan was found to be too expensive.

“We see this as phase two of the Monona Terrace,” said Tim Anderson, chairman of the workgroup. “It’s equally as big, but it will do many things that complement the Monona Terrace and other things that will benefit the entire city.”

The design also incorporates a plan to construct a four-lane underpass from John Nolen Drive to South Blair Street, potentially reducing traffic congestion at the Blair-Williamson Street intersection. The park would also allow for pedestrians and bikers to enter via the Capital City State Trail.

The project is still in the conceptual stage, and the presentation to the Marquette Neighborhood Association is just one way the workgroup is looking for community input as the project develops.

“It’s important as we plan and program this space that we make sure that it is diverse and it is family-centered and it is open to everyone,” Anderson said.

Although this project is just beginning, the idea to connect Lake Monona to Capitol Square is not new. The proposal was first laid out by John Nolen himself in his 1911 plan “Madison: a Model City.” Now, that idea may finally come to fruition.

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