The Action Plan’s Vision
The original Central Area Action Plan (CAAP) was completed in 1992. It told the story of trying to recover a neglected neighborhood while keeping a wary eye on the human impact those changes might bring. The new Central Area Action Plan II makes a new assumption:
that the neighborhood will recover, and that, as the economic tide rises, the community must provide solutions for its existing residents so they will not be Ieft behind.
A good portion of that change in perspective, and the recovery of a once-beleaguered district, must be attributed to the success of the original CAAP itself — which laid out a road map for recovery in a number of different areas. Perhaps a more important function of that plan was its ability to get the neighborhood working toward a common agenda.
Action Plan II is the community’s vision about managing the changes that nearly all community members see on the horizon. The city’s new comprehensive plan, and its focus on creating special places in neighborhoods for business to flourish, for people to gather, for new residents to occupy in more sustainable ways, has provided an excellent organizing principle for the new Action Plan. It has added depth and long-term vision to a plan that was action-oriented, while benefiting from its predecessor’s insistence on workable solutions.
Action Plan II has thrown a wider net, now gathering communities from the north of Madison, and more solidly focusing on the particular problems of the Squire Park/Spruce Park/12ti Avenue area, while still considering its core the Union and Jackson areas along 23rd Avenue. The new plan focuses more clearly on urban form, with a long-term, yet still action-oriented master plan for the Madison Miller area and an emphasis on urban design, zoning for appropriate density, streetscape improvements, and amenities at the other nodes.
Action Plan II envisions a vibrant multi-cultural community, proud of its African-American heritage as well as its many links to other cultures. It is a community taking pains not to shed its cultural richness as its economy and opportunity grow. Physically it is pictured as a series of unique individual urban villages and neighborhood magnets linked together in a common economy and a shared destiny. It is a community that cares about its youth, and about itself, and that sees an enormous value in joint community participation in decisions of consequence. And it is a community that is prepared to take a back seat to no other community in terms of access to capital, local ownership and investment, and regional respect. The community sees itself as a critical player in the city’s comprehensive development — being situated for strong, sustainable growth. It is a close-in neighborhood with affordable housing, safe streets, and a vibrant cultural life. It aims to capture the benefits of that growth for the good of the entire community. A final piece of the puzzle is insisting on access for all community members: access to capital to start/expand businesses and buy/improve homes, access to decision making on a community basis, access to the volunteer and educational assets of the entire community through partnering, and access to the information and progrms that can help them in a pinch. By making sure that opportunity is spread not just for the fortunate, but for all, the Central Area Community lays out a plan for all of its members, to grow and prosper, and participate in the community and the economy for years into the future.