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In addition to the arts, music, education, theater, science, and social meetings, having business and revenue opportunities included within the overall design of an Academy community/business center is important for a number of reasons.
A community/business center would provide revenue to help defray operating costs that might otherwise require tax increases to support a stand-alone community center.
In addition, the Madison town planner frequently receives inquiries from parties interested in renting space close to town. Currently there is not enough commercial-use space downtown to meet demand. Incorporating small, private entities within Academy center would connect and complement the businesses on Main Street and Wall Street with people using the center and also with scheduled events on the green and in the historic district.
Social media commenters expressed extreme disappointment there were no restaurants planned for the large new buildings on Wall Street. A marketplace and restaurant/tavern would provide necessary venues for those attending cultural, educational, social, and recreational events at a community/business center with one of the most important and long-standing needs in existence: food and beverage. Just as people naturally congregate around the kitchen in a personal home, people would gather around and enjoy eateries in a community center before or after attending an event at the community center, the green, or independent of such. Quality food and beverage services at Academy would be the thread that weaves a joint fabric of opportunities and amenities throughout downtown Madison and beyond.
Incorporating food services in the design of a community center at Academy is crucial to creating a holistic center and meeting the innate needs of people. To exclude these types of services I believe would be a mistake and could limit the overall success of a community center at Academy.
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