‘Gateway’ to Madison expected to grow with community-led projects

Incoming developments are expected to lead the transformation of the area surrounding Park Street, dubbed a “gateway into the city.”
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:19 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Incoming developments are expected to lead the transformation of the area surrounding Park Street, dubbed a “gateway into the city.”

The Center for Black Excellence and Culture is one major project in the works. On track to open in fall 2024, the venue will be visible from the Beltline (Hwy 12/18) and located off Park Street.

“You can see ‘making an entrance,’” said Rev. Dr. Alex Gee, the center’s founder and CEO, pointing to a rendering of the building. “We’re not just talking about into our facility but into south Madison.”

From the Beltline exit, Park Street connects commuters to area hospitals, the UW-Madison campus and the state Capitol.

“For years as a congregation we’ve referred to Park Street as the gateway to south Madison, but it’s really a gateway into the city,” he said.

Park Street
Park Street(WMTV)

“These nonprofits are leading the way, and the city is there to partner,” Matt Wachter said. He is the City of Madison’s director of planning, community and economic development.

Other projects are in the works, including the Black Business Hub which is under construction. The building by the Urban League of Greater Madison seeks to serve entrepreneurs of color.

“I think we all realize that change is happening. Growth is happening in the area. What we heard from the community is that we want to make sure there’s a wide variety of opportunities [and] equitable development happening,” he said.

Wachter described obstacles to development, including the way the area is divided among jurisdictions: City of Fitchburg, the state (which controls the Beltline) and the Town of Madison, set to dissolve next month.

“Park Street being, sort of, the more commercial front door to the city creates a unique opportunity for development, for large, visible buildings,” Wachter said. “It will be, probably, a taller and denser street than it is today,” he added, imagining several years down the road.

“I’m convinced that the corridor into South Madison from the Beltline is going to rival every other entry point into the city,” Gee said.

The Center for Black Excellence and Culture is still in the fundraising stage. Details on how to contribute can be found here.