Complete with quiet piano, swelling strings, a soft focus and UW football great Pat Richter, a heartstring-tugging video distributed Monday by the Hammes Company represents the latest attempt to push the issue of Tax Incremental Financing for the Edgewater redevelopment in the 2012 city budget, to be decided next week.
It's an impressive production, evidence of Hammes' intent pull out all the stops in enlisting citizen help to rally for the cause. The video accompanies a Facebook campaign which allows project backers to send a supportive email to Mayor Paul Soglin and members of the Common Council with a single click. The council meets next week to debate the city budget, which includes a significantly-reduced TIF subsidy for the project.
Architect David Manfredi leads off the video, which lasts over four-and-a-half minutes and also features testimonials by the UW Foundation's Mike Knetter, Trek's John Burke and Richter, among others, by explaining why the Edgewater site is so special.
"We came to the notion very early that this could be Madison's outdoor living room," says Manfredi, perhaps willfully ignoring the Memorial Union Terrace and the Capitol Square, public spaces which project boosters and opponents alike would have to agree more accurately fit that description.
Burke is insistent in the video, almost to the point of playing the aggressive deal closer role.
"When you take a look the Capitol, you take a look at Monona Terrace and then you take a look at this and it's just waiting. It's crying for somebody to say, 'Build me,'" he says.
But perhaps the ultimate challenge comes from Richter, the hometown hero, a three-sport stud at the UW and savior of the athletic department; a guy anyone would love to have in their huddle.
"In terms of the opportunity for Madison, we need to kind of gear up and be competitive," he says.
It's almost like we're back on the playground picking sides for a game of two-hand touch. Do you want to be on Pat Richter's team, or the other one?
The pitch doesn't rely solely on spokespeople, however. Hammes has sprinkled in some new architectural renderings, including a shot of families skating on a small rooftop ice rink with an improbable snowman in the foreground and a shining state Capitol on the horizon.