[P]lans may gain momentum this summer on a $24 million Central Park on 17 acres in what was once the industrial core of the Near East Side.That "industrial core" area does look bleak and empty.
"This is the most consequential public improvement for the Isthmus for the next 50 years, " said former Madison Mayor Joe Sensenbrenner, comparing its potential effect to Monona Terrace and Overture Center. He 's a member of a committee Mayor Dave Cieslewicz appointed this year to develop a plan for the parkMonona Terrace and the Overture Center were huge public improvements. I'm not seeing why it's always time for another.
Across the country, citizens and planners are finding that developing urban parks can create special challenges, namely how they fit into existing neighborhoods and business districts. And now that prime urban real estate is more scarce and expensive, "it 's much more challenging to satisfy everyone 's notion of what a park should be, " says Witold Rybczynski, a professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania.Park? They don't worry about that in NYC. It seems to me that if you want to build a Central Park, it should be beautiful green space available to people who are downtown and in need of respite. It's not a destination in itself. If you want an amusement park that will pull in crowds, put it in the outskirts of town where it's easy to park.
The larger debate about the purpose of a park often pits people who believe in peace and quiet and the soulful contemplation of nature against those who prefer zip lines, Frisbee golf and hang gliding.
In Madison, Cieslewicz 's 12-member commission is expected to answer those types of questions, including: Should the park serve the neighborhood or region? Will it include a skate park? A concert stage? Where will visitors park?
What we need in that scarily empty near east area is more buildings. It's not urban enough. There's nothing to seek respite from. Sure, make some of that land a beautiful park, but not for people to drive in to visit. Make it a place where we want to live and can live and where it will be urban enough that we'll feel the need for a little stroll in the park... that we can walk to.