And the iconic winner is …

Iconic. Something that puts us on the map. That’s what IB asked for, and that’s what we got from readers. Now it’s time to announce the winning entry!

(Drumroll, please.) Jay Ferm, a member of the Transit and Parking Commission for the city of Madison, and advocacy director and office manager of Planet Bike, wins our “visionary” award with his proposal to clean up the lakes. You can read his entire submission in my After Hours blog, but in overview, he poses the challenge to eliminate ALL sources of water pollution from the four lakes’ watershed to become a national model and iconic city.

Ferm addresses construction companies, farms, boat pollution, etc., in his proposal, but his vision is a thriving beach district with visitors coming from all over the world to see how/what we did. Also, he points to how living in an organic landscape could considerably reduce some health problems, etc., etc. The proposal is worth a read and discussion and consideration, and I strongly urge you to do all three.

Because of the scope of his project, and the economic impact it could have, Jay wins the $50 gift certificate to the Dorf Haus, an iconic restaurant in Roxbury. I chose this award because 51 years ago a husband/wife team came up with the idea to open a Bavarian restaurant that has been expanded many times, and today the second generation has taken over the business, so it’s sustainable, too. And that’s what we wanted in our iconic submissions, so it seemed fitting.

The sentiment of cleaning up the lakes was a recurring theme, seconded best by Jim Sendecke, a principal at RS+K, who also urged our citizens to be bold in their decision making about reclaiming the lakes. He refers us to the Clean Lakes Alliance and an intermediary. Read it online!

Many folks wrote in about the idea of actually letting the Edgewater become the vision that owner Robert Dunn had in mind for it, before all the “not-in-my-neighborhood” wrangling began. We didn’t give awards to the folks raising the issue again, given the stiff competition with new ideas, but we do bring it to the attention of our readership that the cutbacks and debates are not yet forgiven, forgotten, or accepted by folks wearing “economic development” hats in our community.

Daniel Amato, owner of Columbus Antique Mall, wins second place (or third, if we’re counting two for the reclaiming lake project) for the suggestion to build a $1.5 million hot air balloon, the likes of which do not exist in the U.S., but are successful in Paris and other destination locations. He gives all the particulars of how it would work and it’s a convincing argument, so check that out in After Hours, too.

Two other ideas also receive honorable mention, and so are included at the Mad City Clock Tour, suggested by Lori Jolin (Lori Jolin Design) and IB’s Terri McCarthy, and also the retractable roof suggestion by Steven Pullara, partner at Smith & Gesteland, who admits to suggesting a “crazy idea.”

We like crazy, as did the judges, and you can judge it yourself online.

The clock tour was a great example of using existing icons and tying them all into one neat and accessible bundle for the tourist wanting the “Madison experience.” The tour would begin at a beautifully designed plaza at the new “public access” area at the Edgewater Hotel, and each chosen site would have a part of the clock at its location designed by local artists.

Check out the idea at After Hours and let us know what you think should be a corresponding “time” destination! Join the fun.

I’d like to thank everyone who submitted entries. We received ideas for a hippie museum, a State Street water ferry – and building a moat around Madison “to keep undesirables out.” Okay, IB didn’t entertain THAT, nor did the judges, but it shows the wide scope of suggestions received.

Sign up for the free IB Update – your weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. Click here.