Gilmore property options on the table at recent community meeting
By Stephanie Johns
Plans for subdividing the Gilmore property, located at 473 Burney St., into as few as three or as many as seven units were shared during a recent town hall meeting.
The city of Madison purchased the property in September and deeded it over to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan said they may have two residential units upstairs and one or more units downstairs in the main building. The detached pink building would remain one unit.
“We’re not going to be bad landlords,” she said. “It’ll be a safe, attractive neighborhood hub.”
She explained that the DDA asked residents of the Canaan neighborhood, where this property is located, what they would like to have in their community. The two top responses: fresh groceries and a community meeting room.
Since the city purchased the property Callahan said she has heard from people interested in having a beauty/barber shop, a tutoring/workforce development service, and a meat-and-three takeaway, to name a few.
She noted that while this property does not have to make money, it cannot lose money. This means that they may have to lease all of the building as opposed to only leasing a portion of it and keeping a portion for a community room.
If the big room located in the downstairs portion of the main building is used as a community room, it could hold between 35 and 40 people, Callahan said.
If the community room does not go in at this property, the Rev. Cedric Cotton said he would be glad to work with the city for a community meeting space at St. Paul’s AME Church as scheduling permits.
As to the structural integrity of the two buildings, Callahan said the main building is in good condition while the pink building is not.
Economics – the cost to have the pink building remodeled versus the cost to replace it – will determine which of those two outcomes occurs.
Either way, Callahan said both the downstairs portion of the main building as well as the pink building will be handicap accessible.
“It will look better but you’ll recognize it,” she said.
She reminded those present that this project is only going to happen because the city council “stepped up to the plate.”
“It’s an outlay of trust to share tax payer dollars,” she said.
Printed in the December 20, 2012 edition