Edgewater Hotel redevelopment: So “last century!”

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

An op-ed letter by Dave Steffenson about the Edgewater Hotel development plan:

The Edgewater Hotel developers and Mayor Dave ignore the scientific fact that, “You can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet!” Edgewater’s business plan is so “last century!” Madison’s economic elite has convinced green (sic) Mayor Dave that only land developers can make us prosper.

After initial construction, hotels provide mainly low-wage jobs and pull down the local economy while our Capitol disappears behind their ugly inefficient high-rise buildings.

Instead of a temporary recession, we are really retracting toward a smaller, sustainable, steady state, middle-class economy where most people can work and have modest prosperity, but getting rich is obsolete. Let’s not give away our taxes to enrich a few while they destroy what makes Madison unique. Rather than insult us by branding our current city as “blighted,” TIF funds could be used to refurbish and retrofit existing buildings, or build creative new energy-efficient buildings, all across our city.

While we learn how to live within natural limits, eliminate carbon-based energy, and cope with diminishing oil supplies; gasoline and aviation fuel prices will soon skyrocket. In a few years, there won’t be any “destination hotels” serving national conferences, business travelers or tourists. Business folks and conference goers will stay home and communicate electronically. Let’s finance our transition to a city that really works for all with our TIF money.

Dave Steffenson, Director
The Upstream Institute for Ecological Ethics
Madison, WI