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Cap Times Talks: Should Madison Privatize More Park Services? (free)

Breese Stevens Field. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Breese Stevens Field. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The Capital Times' series of live panel discussions frequently hits the nail on the head by simply choosing the right question, and this one couldn't be better timed. The City of Madison has long privatized some functions in city parks, but a couple of high-profile moves lately call into question how far that should go. Over on the east side's Olbrich Park, a Madison alder has been accused of helping her developer husband get a sweetheart deal on operating a new beer garden. At the city-owned Breese Stevens Field on East Wash, Big Top Baseball (which also owns the Madison Mallards) has a contract to put on concerts and other events, and its approach includes cushy VIP packages and gentrification-friendly abominations like $500 picnic baskets. However you feel about those particular examples, there's no doubting that public parks are an essential part of any city's soul, and that privatizing services in them impacts their character. Cap Times city-government reporter Abigail Becker will moderate this panel, which includes representatives from Big Top, the Madison Parks Division, the Common Council, the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project, and Capitol Neighborhoods Inc. —Scott Gordon

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