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Dane County Moves Ahead in Planning Process for Alliant Energy Center
February 20, 2016

Despite protests from Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, supervisors on the County Board have opted to move ahead with a market study and planning process for the Alliant Energy Center campus.

Supervisors voted 28-6 Thursday to approve a resolution that could lead to a major campus expansion and development of an arena to replace the aging Dane County Coliseum.

In recent months, some supervisors clashed with Parisi over how extensive a potential redevelopment of the campus should be.

An ad hoc committee supported a concept from a Hammes Co. report that called for demolishing the Coliseum and replacing it with a multipurpose arena, accompanied by a dining, retail and hotel district. But Parisi has preferred a simpler method of upkeep to the existing building to keep down public costs.

Supervisors spent more than an hour introducing and discussing amendments to the resolution, including an amendment from Sup. Dennis O’Loughlin, 20th District, that would have eliminated wording in the resolution calling for a market study to determine if selling the campus is most economical.

Sup. Dave de Felice, 16th District, asked to return the resolution to committee, citing a lack of clarity in the proposal.

Both motions failed.

Earlier this week, to the surprise of the board, Parisi sent out a request for private development proposals for parts of the campus.

In a Thursday memo to supervisors, he called parts of the resolution the board later approved “counterintuitive.”

Concerned about a public price tag that could reach up to $120 million, Parisi asked the board to consider a more fiscally responsible and practical approach than demolishing the Coliseum. He asked the board to consider opinions of local businesses and developers before proceeding with the resolution.

Parisi also objected to the idea of selling the Alliant Energy Center and expressed doubts that the Republican-controlled state Legislature would help create a new taxing district to finance an extensive redevelopment.

By Candace Bambenek
Source: Madison.com


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