City and Library Release ‘Imagination Center’ Plans for Reindahl Park

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The city of Madison plans to build a library and parks center to help connect the homeless community with more resources in Reindahl Park.

Current building plans don’t include a people facility, but Tana Elias, Madison Public Library’s digital sales and marketing manager, said the goal is to reimagine how they can help members of the northeast community to find permanent housing.

“It’s really an opportunity for people in this neighborhood to have a lot more community service and a lot more opportunities for community engagement than they have now,” Elias said. “We can offer a variety of services and connections, but it’s really a bigger conversation to have for the whole city to have a coordinated approach to how we deal with people who don’t have homes. Or have trouble finding long-term housing.

Dairy Drive Shelters project coordinator Brenda Konkel said she was hopeful but skeptical about the project’s contribution to reducing homelessness.

“I’ve been around long enough to see a lot of promises that are going to come true that don’t end up happening,” Konkel said. “I think there’s a real openness here and a real opportunity for us to make this one of those welcoming places for everyone in our community.”

She hopes Reindahl Park neighbors can use the new facility as a respectful learning opportunity.

“I think a lot of people just haven’t been in a situation where they’ve been able to have that kind of experience,” she said. “If we’re lucky, maybe the Imagination Center could be a place where things like this can happen. Maybe they’ll find a way to do some programming or something that would start to build bridges between the kind of us and them mentality that America is in.

Elias said they plan to start building the Imagination Center in January 2023 and then open it by January 2024.

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