Need to Rethink
I totally agree with Bob Roxbrough’s Dec. 30 letter “The Public Should Know”—the public should be aware of all the numbers surrounding the Academy proposal. Let’s start with the 2018, pre-pandemic survey, when people gathered in groups closer than six feet from each other. The Ad Hoc Committee has referred to this as a “statistically significant survey.” There were only 779 responses to this survey, out of 18,000-plus Madison residents, a little more than four percent, or 1 out of 23-plus residents.
Four years later, I’m sure not many of those respondents would consider putting themselves in harm’s way at a crowded indoor event, and especially as COVID and its variants continue in our community, resulting in an “If you build it, I won’t go” syndrome.
The renovation area at Academy is currently published at 40,000 square feet, down from an initially published 53,000 square feet. Using the optimistic $16 million projected cost, we are looking at a $400 renovation cost per square foot. The 7,000 square foot office space allocation for Madison Youth & Family Services (with 14 employees), and Beach & Rec (with 9 employees) will consume a $2.8 million portion of that budget. Will bids for this project include a “no escalation” clause?
Regarding income, without firm commitments for rental space or interest in opening a café, how were the income numbers developed?
Madison residents should be very concerned about these numbers, as we are currently entertaining a $90-plus million school building proposal, where the plan includes discarding two more school buildings. Madison residents need to rethink what they approve at the polls.