master plan offers
many ideas for developing
MADISON, Ind. (October 2002) Madisons riverfront
could get a whole new look if federal funding comes through next year
to initiate some of the ideas put forth in a recently released master
plan funded through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
walk looking East.
The plan presents dozens of ideas that would require extensive
development of the north and south sides of Vaughn Drive, which skirts
Madisons riverfront. The plan, which cost $75,000 to produce,
is part of a draft report prepared by Gulf Engineers and Consultants
Inc. of Baton Rouge, La., in conjunction with the Corps.
Any action taken must first receive city approval. City officials are
just now beginning to study the plan, which they received in late September.
Madison Mayor Al Huntington said he has seen the plan and considers
it an important step in gaining federal money to develop the riverfront.
All the concepts they presented are intriguing, but there are
a lot more steps ahead of us before we take any specific action,
Huntington said. We certainly want as much community input as
possible before we proceed, and that goes for both sides of Vaughn Drive.
Huntington added that the ideas proposed in the plan complement
what the Madison Riverfront Development Committee has already done.
Members of the committee also had not seen the plan and do not meet
again until early October. The committee has been the driving force
behind riverfront beautification, resulting in walkways, overlooks and
Lamplighter Park, which sits on what once was the site of a warehouse
Gulf Engineers was contracted after $100,000 was appropriated by the
U.S. Congress to study the riverfront and to develop a master plan,
according to Brandon Brummett, the Corps project manager. Gulf
Engineers was chosen to produce the plan for the project because of
the companys experience with waterfront development studies and
because its was already under an open-ended contract with
the Corps, which expedited the process.
The study was part of what Brummett called the recon phase,
during which the Corps and the consultants collected information.
Adam Werth, senior project manager for Gulf Engineers, and Brummett
traveled to Madison in July and August to speak with city officials
and conduct two public forums. Many residents offered their views and
ideas for developing the riverfront. Their input was used in finalizing
the recommended master plan.
The plan suggests that city officials consider several ideas for upgrading
the riverfront. Among them are: update public boat launches, add public
boat docking facilities; build an outdoor stage area; start an open
air market; add a community plaza or a cafe; promote light retail in
the area; add historical interpretation areas; add a fountain; build
an interpretive sculpture park.
Werth said that the plan calls for building onto what is already there
with gateways, additional trails and overlooks, adding a walkway to
the northside of Vaughn Drive and extending the walkway west where it
will eventually meet up with the new Heritage Trail.
Tom Pritchard, president of the Heritage Trail Committee, said his group
is definitely interested in seeing that happen. The Heritage
Trail bicycling-pedestrian paved path is being completed in phases by
the committee and will eventually connect Clifty Falls State Park to
the riverfront. Gulf Engineers master plan calls for Heritage
Trail to meet up with the riverfront walkway at a shelter with restrooms,
drinking fountains and snack machines that will serve as a trailhead
for both paths.
Brummett said that conducting a study and creating a master plan are
part of the process that the Corps must follow when seeking federal
funding for a project. Brummett compiled the results of the study and
master plan into what is known as a 905-B Analysis Report, which is
used by the Corps to determine the level of federal interest in a project
and whether to continue with a feasibility study, the next step of the
Preparing the report is standard operating procedure for the Corps,
Brummett said. Typically, riverfront development projects are rejected
for feasibility studies by the Corps because they often center around
recreational functions, which are not included in the Corps three main
objectives of flood damage reduction, ecosystem restoration and navigation.
Brummett, who submitted the report to his superiors Sept. 26, said that
such was the case in Madison. But Brummett was quick to point out that
even though the 905-B Analysis Report does not recommend that the Corps
continue with a feasibility study, it doesnt mean that the project
wont get federal funding.
That couldnt be further from the truth, Brummett said.
The report recommends taking an approach different from the Corps
standard procedure in obtaining federal dollars for the project. Brummett
said that more than likely the project will be supported by an Indiana
state legislator who will then take steps to ensure that federal funds
are set aside for the project.
Were expecting some congressional funding (for the project)
next year, Brummett said.
The money received by the Corps for the study was secured by Sen. Evan
Bayh through the Senate Appropriations Committee. According to Court
Rosen, a spokesperson from Bayhs office, the senator supports
the project because it is beneficial to the area and provides a service
Rosen said that the senator will continue to support the project and
seek additional funding for construction once the city determines how
it will proceed.
Until the Corps recent involvement, Madisons riverfront
development had been funded primarily through private donations secured
by the Madison Riverfront Development Committee. The committee formed
in the late 1970s by citizens who wanted to beautify the riverfront.
They began raising funds for the project and to date have garnered nearly
$3 million through private donations, including donations of property,
to create a walkway stretching nearly 8/10 mile between Vine Street
and Jaycee Park beneath the Ohio River Bridge.
Committee president Gayle Crozier, a retired Madison Consolidated Schools
administrator, said the committee has done as much as it can through
private donations and is now hoping for federal funding to continue
the project. Crozier said that so far the project has been pay
as you go, with phases being completed as funding became available.
Crozier said that although the committee may not agree with all of the
suggestions in the master plan, the plan is a beginning and can be presented
to the federal government as a foot in the door to obtain
A master plan has to be presented as part of the process to obtain federal
money, Crozier said. With a master plan in hand, the committee can
then go to the Congress and say heres our master plan, this is
what weve done, this is what the people of Madison have already
done, will you help us get this completed? Crozier said.
Crozier had not yet reviewed the master plan as of late September. But
he knew it was based on ideas presented at the public forums. Those
ideas were not new to the committee. Crozier said that the committee
had considered most of the ideas before but were concerned with feasibility
I would say that there was very little input that we saw that
was something we wouldnt want; some of it we thought might not
For instance, Crozier said that the idea of a permanent boat dock at
the foot of Jefferson Street, one of the suggestions that has been offered,
probably wouldnt work for the area because of the fluctuation
of river levels and because of open space needed for the Madison Regatta.
Crozier said that other ideas presented, such as the addition of an
entertainment area or amphitheater, were already being considered. What
remains to be seen, and what will determine the scope of riverfront
development, is whether Congress will approve funding. According to
the master plan by Gulf Engineers, the completed riverfront project
with the improvements it suggests could cost more than $7 million.
Im encouraged about the future of the riverfront,
Huntington said, but well have to wait and see what funding
comes through and what restrictions are placed on it.
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