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Initial Madison Central Park work could split discussion for further growth

By Paul Snyder

Madison leaders are confident construction will begin by 2011 on the city’s Central Park, but how and when further development will occur is still up for debate.

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz’s recently approved 2010 city budget includes nearly $1 million for design work and to buy land for the park. In 2011, the investment increases to $5.4 million for preliminary landscaping and construction work.

Cieslewicz said the money is more than enough to build the park’s lawn and some amenities, including community garden space.

The city’s Central Park Design and Implementation Task Force, however, is still trying to identify the best public-private partnership to spur future growth and private donations, and has not yet set up a time line for determining the city’s partner.

If the park gets too grandiose as time moves on, the Marquette Neighborhood Association might protest.

Michael Jacobs, vice president of the neighborhood association, said if the city is stuck with a minimalist park for a few years as it waits for a private partnership to emerge, some neighbors might resist further growth and losing the neighborhood feel.

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