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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Madison’s first public market promises to showcase many locally grown and prepared foods, along with handcrafted artwork.

Long-awaited Madison Public Market designs finally released

City officials shared designs for the highly-anticipated Madison Public Market, scheduled to open in 2021, on Thursday.

Madison’s first public market promises to showcase many features that have come to define the state capital: locally grown and prepared food, handcrafted artwork and jewelry and other various collectibles.

The market will be located on 200 N. First St. in a property already owned by the city. The market will occupy two floors, including a mezzanine on the upper level overlooking the main floor. 

MSR, the Minneapolis-based design firm chosen to lead the project, has a simple philosophy: create beautiful places that are environmentally responsible and have enduring value. 

The building they’re working with — what is now a garage housing City Fleet Services — offers unique difficulties for the designers, like an on-site fueling station for city vehicles. However, it does provide multiple garage door openings and 18-foot tall ceilings that come in handy for blending indoor and outdoor spaces.

The current vision for the spaces has roughly 30 vending spots, but that is flexible depending on the room required by the vendors.

“This is really going to give the vendors an opportunity to create their own space,” said Jamaal Stricklin, Madison Public Foundation Board president. “One of the best things about this town is there are so many different types of people in the city. What we really lack is a place for all of those types of people to get together on a regular basis.”

MPM has been in the works for many years now — Madison Common Council accepted the Public Market business plan in 2015 and updated it in 2017. 

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway recently released the executive capital budget for 2020, which anticipates construction to continue as planned but transfers $7.5 million of the local funding to various other projects.

“I recognize this project’s ability to support businesses and cultivate entrepreneurship which is critical to realizing the goals of this element,” Rhodes-Conway said. “My budget [...] calls for the Madison Public Market Foundation to raise an additional $500,000 to complete the project.”

While the city will own the Public Market building, the ongoing operations and budget will be managed by a community-led non-profit.

The city opened the designs for the market up to community — inviting feedback and ideas — at the first public unveiling of the plans in early May. Approximately one thousand people were in attendance, said Dan Kennelly, manager of the city of Madison Office of Business Resources. 

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Some of the suggestions were green spaces, room for public art and easy accessibility — with one person tossing out the possibility of access by kayak.

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