UW and city teaming up for redesign of State Street and Library Mall

April 25, 2013

by Käri Knutson

Photo: people at outdoor tables on State Street mall on UW-Madison campus

Public input is being gathered for the redesign and reconstruction of the State Street (above) and Library Malls on campus.

Photo: Jeff Miller

They are iconic locations and both will soon be getting a makeover. UW-Madison and the City of Madison are partnering to develop design plans for the reconstruction of the 700 and 800 blocks of State Street (North Lake Street to North Park Street) and Library Mall.

This week, the first of three public meetings was held where people offered input and shared their ideas. Many people attending were interested in making the space flexible, more lively, more colorful and able to accommodate the many activities held by student groups and the general community throughout the seasons.

“It’s really the beating heart of the campus and of the community. It’s where the president comes to speak, where memorials for Sept. 11 have been held – all kinds of things happen in that space,” says Gary Brown, director of campus planning and landscape architecture. “We want to get it right.”

The focus of the design is to create a special place at the intersection of two iconic Madison corridors: State Street and the recently constructed East Campus Mall.

“It’s more of a community resource than just a campus resource. It’s used by everybody,” Brown says. “It’s really an amazing public space.”

The city plans to reconstruct the State Street portion of the project beginning in May of 2014. The university will use preliminary plans for budgeting and reconstructing Library Mall in the future after funding is identified.

“We want it to be flexible and timeless in its design so 20 years from now it doesn’t look like it was designed in 2013,” Brown says.  

Brown says they’re open to ideas.

“We want to hear from people,” Brown says. “Should it stay like it is? Do they want it changed? Should there be more paving? More grass? There are all kinds of potential ideas.”

Other public input meetings will be held in June and September before final plans are developed for construction. Detailed information can be found on the City of Madison website.