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Madison Plan Commission pauses development project that would include demolition of Prohibition-era bar

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Members of City of Madison's Plan Commission put a development project on hold that would have included the demolition of a bar that dates back to Prohibition.

The commission voted to table a proposal to construct a commercial space and 290 apartments on the corner of Olin Avenue and John Nolen Drive -- the area includes the Wonder Bar. The bar served as a center for bootlegging alcohol during Prohibition.

The area also includes the Coliseum Bar.

A motion to pause the project passed unanimously.

"We cannot with taking into account approval standard for approved demolition of the Wonder Bar based on the historical significance that has been conveyed to us by the Landmarks Commission and the fantastic condition that the building is in," said Lindsay Lemmer, Madison District 3 Alder.

The motion was to place the proposal on file without prejudice. That means the commission now has time to see how the developer adjusts plans and possible steps to preserve the bar.

Janelle Munns is a concerned citizen who helped the effort to halt the demolition. She released a statement to 27 News after the vote came down.

"Those involved in the effort to save the Wonder Bar are very happy with the vote tonight. We thank everyone for your outcry of support for this beautiful building and preserving our history. Also your voices in protection of the natural areas surrounding the development site."

Matthew Cash

Senior Executive Producer

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