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Visitor to Confederate Rest (copy)

John Fons, of Madison, makes a list of the names of Confederate soldiers on the cenotaph in Forest Hill Cemetery's Confederate Rest.  

PHOTO BY STEVE APPS - State Journal

The City Council’s previous decision on Confederate monuments in Madison’s west side cemetery stands following a failed vote to reconsider the motion Tuesday.

Alders voted 14-4 against a request from Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, to reconsider the Council’s April 19 vote to to remove a large cenotaph, or gravestone, with the names of 140 Confederate soldiers located in the middle of a section of Forest Hill Cemetery called Confederate Rest.

“It’s meant to be the final resting for 140 soldiers who died as prisoners of war,” Skidmore said of Confederate Rest. “This is to allow the dead to rest in peace, to at least memorialize their presence.”

Following the protest in August, Mayor Paul Soglin, who was absent from Tuesday’s meeting and the April 10 meeting, ordered the removal of a small plaque from 1981 that previously sat outside Confederate Rest. Soglin supported keeping the cenotaph and adding explanatory signage.

Alds. Mike Verveer, District 4; Steve King, District 7; Skidmore, District 9; and David Ahrens, District 15, voted to allow reconsideration. Council President Samba Baldeh did not vote, and Ald. Sheri Carter, District 14, was absent.

Though the request for reconsideration was unsuccessful, it allowed members of the public to speak at the meeting. Those who spoke, including one woman who brought a Confederate flag to demonstrate her point, were in favor of keeping the monuments in place and argued that they should be left alone as pieces of history.

Major Hill Farms project

The City Council also approved a zoning change and the general development plan for the major project on the west side called Madison Yards at Hill Farms.

SG Hill Farms, LLC, the developer for the project, plans to create five blocks of mixed-use buildings on 14 acres of state-owned property at 4802 Sheboygan Ave., next to the new 600,000 square foot Department of Transportation building

The property, including the state building, is bordered by University Avenue, Sheboygan Avenue, North Segoe Road and an American Red Cross office. It will be intersected by four roads to create five blocks.

Ald. Arvina Martin, District 11, proposed an amendment that would remove a requirement that the developer work with the city’s traffic engineering staff to ensure that sufficient right-of-way is dedicated along Segoe Road to include bicycle lanes

“We wanted to take this out because there are concerns about parking in the area and we know that having bike lanes would be a great idea, but we want to make sure we maximize the parking around the facility,” Martin said.

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However, some alders felt that the city should be planning ahead to avoid retrofitting projects in the future.

“We have to build a city for the future and sometimes that inconveniences developers and sometimes that inconveniences current residents, but our job is to have our feet in both gears,” Ald. Denise DeMarb, District 16.

Arcade bar receives alcohol license

Also at the meeting, the Council approved an alcohol license for I/O Arcade Bar, slated for 720 Williamson St.

The combination arcade and bar, with a capacity of 155, will feature 25 arcade games, pinball machines, rentable board games and space for viewing competitive gaming tournaments.

Under the approved license, the arcade bar can be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, from 4 p.m. to midnight on Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The bar also plans to host all-ages days on the first and third Sunday of each month.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.