Madison Mayor Damon Welch says being a finalist in the America’s Best Communities competition will help boost the historic city’s efforts to bridge what has become "Two Madisons." The Ohio River Valley city beat out semi-finalists like Angola-Fremont and Valparaiso to remain in the running for what could be a $3 million grand prize. Welch says the national and statewide attention, as well as $50,000 already received from the competition to craft a community revitalization plan, have been a "win-win."
The more than 100-page pitch for the ABC competition highlights the proposed "Madison Connector," which is a corridor designed to take walkers and bikers between the city’s downtown and the portion of the community uphill from the river. Welch says the connector, combined with several additional investment and improvements related to the Milton-Madison Bridge, complete late last year, could could spur additional development.
Each finalist city has been awarded $100,000 toward implementing their plans for improvement. Organizers say the efforts outlined by the finalists demonstrate they are "connected to your sense of place and committed to its economic vitality."
Welch believes the quality of life features in the city, as well as additional projects, could help attract and keep residents. He says work like the efforts laid out in the community revitalization plan will help the city "move into the future." Welch adds, even with the global nature of today’s work force, "It’s going to help us be a better place for people to come and live, even if they want to drive an hour to work, you know, that’s not unusual, they can come back and live in a town that’s got a great quality of life."
Madison boasts what it says is the largest contiguous National Historic Landmark District in the U.S., covering 133 city blocks and 1600 buildings.
The winning city among eight finalists will receive $3 million, with second and third-place finishers getting $2 million and $1 million, respectively. The top three will be announce in one year.
You can connect to more details about the competition by clicking here.
Madison Mayor Damon Welch tells Inside INdiana Business the city is proposing a walkable, bikeable “Madison Connector” corridor that, combined with other developments, could be a “game-changer.”