The City of Madison is receiving a $25,000 Vibrant Spaces Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to fund new planter boxes at the Lakefront Porch, a community gathering place and social hub in downtown Madison.
The Vibrant Spaces grant program is designed to help cities and towns revitalize underused spaces to build community and attract future residents. Through this grant program, communities across the state of Wisconsin will be investing in their workforce attraction and small business development by creating inviting, walkable spaces in their downtowns, gateway districts, and economic centers.
“Investing in vibrant communities where people want to live, work, and raise families is critical to attracting and retaining workers in our state,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s leading economic development organization. “These grants will help communities create new gathering places in thriving downtowns to draw in residents, visitors, new businesses and investments.”
To foster community development and growth, the City of Madison has been working with local residents to transform Lakefront Porch into a welcoming community gathering space. The site, located in the gateway to downtown Madison, has been historically underused despite community efforts. By working with community members and Saiki Design, a local landscape architecture firm, the space will be rejuvenated and serve as a place to relax, socialize, and build community. WEDC’s Vibrant Spaces grant will fund new garden planters to create a welcoming and appealing outdoor environment.
The project has tremendous support from the City of Madison. As Satya Rhodes-Conway, Mayor stated in her letter of support dated June 30,2022, “As Mayor, I am always looking for ways to leverage resources and maximize every opportunity for community benefits in our city. [...] This site has high potential for greater use as a gathering place for the community. I fully support the work of the Lakefront Porch Core Committee to establish and implement this vision to turn this underutilized space into an inclusive and accessible community amenity."
Alderperson Michael E. Verveer has also lent his enthusiastic support to this project since Lakefront Porch was originally conceptualized: “The City of Madison is partnering with First Settlement Neighborhood residents to transform the underused platform atop Madison Water Utility Well No. 17 (Crowley Station) into an engaging community place known as the Lakefront Porch on Wilson. With its view of Lake Monona and its location as a gateway to downtown Madison, the space has untapped potential as a resource for our city.”
The Vibrant Spaces Grant program is an initiative within WEDC’s Community Development and Investment (CDI) grant program. Projects were evaluated based on their ability to create visible and pedestrian oriented public spaces that attract and accommodate multiple users and activities. Successful projects demonstrated that they would benefit the local district, nearby businesses and the community as a whole. Communities were required to match grant funds and begin construction this summer.
More information can be found online at: https://wedc.org/programs-and-resources/vibrant-spaces/ and lakefrontporch.org
ABOUT THE WISCONSIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Visit wedc.org or follow WEDC on Twitter @WEDCNews to learn more.