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City offers $300K to Allied grocery store prospects

City offers $300K to Allied grocery store prospects

The city of Madison said Wednesday that it's seeking proposals from companies that are interested in bringing a full service, affordable grocery store to a west neighborhood. 

Madison said it is seeking proposals from developers, property owners, and grocery store operators that will establish a grocery store in the Allied Drive neighborhood, which is considered a food desert since the Walgreen's on Verona Road closed last year.

Proposals are due June 15, but a letter of intent to apply is due May 15.

The city said in mid-January that it would provide $300,000 in financial assistance as an incentive to draw a store to the area. The funds will be in the form of a low-interest or partially forgivable loan. 

County approves additional funding to increase emergency radio coverage

County approves additional funding to increase emergency radio coverage

The Dane County Board of Supervisors approved an additional $3.75 million in funding Thursday to increase radio coverage in rural areas and inside large buildings, according to a release.

The allocation was approved as part of a larger resolution approving the issuing of bonds to pay for commitments already approved in the 2015 capital budget, officials said. The new funding is in addition to the $3 million already dedicated to improvements in the DaneCom radio system.

News 3 reported in December that parts of DaneCom would be taken offline at the beginning of 2015 to determine if the county’s new emergency communication system was causing emergency radio problems.

For many neighborhoods, accessing fresh food remains a challenge

For many neighborhoods, accessing fresh food remains a challenge

Food deserts abound in Madison, especially on north, south sides  

It's a struggle to find fresh and healthy food some areas in Madison, despite many big box grocery stores and 16 seasonal farmers' markets.

The closing of Walgreens on Verona Road at the end of 2014 has exposed the instability of south Madison's Allied Dunn's Marsh neighborhood. Though the neighborhood is biking distance from the Capitol, the amount of resources present in its immediate area are severely lacking.

Madison schools to ask $41 million referendum question

Madison schools to ask $41 million referendum question

The Madison Metropolitan School District will ask voters for $41 million school facilities referendum in April.

A school district official said the school board finalized a project list involving 16 schools during a Monday meeting.

If approved, the money would be used to improve accessibility in 10 schools, add classroom space to five schools and renovate four schools in need of upgrades.

The biggest projects include $8 million in renovations at Jefferson Middle School and $4 million to redo the theater at East High School.

If approved, taxpayers owning an average $237,000 home would pay an additional $62.95 a year in property taxes for 10 years.

"If we can get these addressed not only will we create stronger schools and learning environments for our students, but we will set ourselves up for some long-term facilities planning that will really help bring our vision as a school district to life," MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said.

City to keep adding flouride to water supply

City to keep adding flouride to water supply

The Madison Water Utility Board said this week that it would continue to add fluoride to the city's drinking water.

The utility board voted at its meeting Tuesday night to keep its fluoride policy. The city's been adding fluoride to water to improve dental health for 68 years since the policy was adopted in 1946.

Madison Water Utility currently aims for a target fluoride concentration of 0.7 parts per million, as recommended by county, national and international health agencies.

In a news release Wednesday, the city of Madison said it took public comments on the policy Tuesday for about two hours before the vote.

The policy will be reviewed again in 2024.

RELATED: Utility to review adding fluoride to Madison water

Committee focuses on 3 possible public market locations

Committee focuses on 3 possible public market locations

Monday night the city's Local Food Committee decided to focus on three possible locations for a public market.

Locations being considered include one on the north side at Northport Drive and North Sherman Avenue, on the east side at East Washington Avenue and First Street, and on the south side at the former site of Thorstad Chevrolet on Park Street.

The public market would be an indoor, year round facility that supports local food businesses.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin likes the final locations enough to consider more than one.

"They all have their own individual advantages, which is why they made the short list, but there's one thing I think we have to remember that I think is kind of exciting -- there is no rule that says you can't have more than one public market," Soglin said.

He said they would pick one of these sites first, but could develop another later.

County, city discuss possible day shelter for homeless

County, city discuss possible day shelter for homeless

Dane County could make a deal on a new permanent day shelter for the homeless in the next couple of weeks.

Officials said the push for finding a place for the homeless is because there are so many people still trying to get on their feet after the recession.

The ideal location would be in the immediate downtown area so the homeless can have quick access to services to help them get jobs and get back on their feet. But as the real estate market bounces back, properties that fit the county's needs and fit into the $600,000 budget have been scarce.

As a result, their focus has turned to properties some distance from the city center, like the MARC East building on Lien Road.

"Part of the answer is that the homeless are everywhere in Dane County and everywhere in the city of Madison. But there are many services that are centralized in the central part of Madison, and a building like MARC would require a substantial transportation plan," Hendrick said.