of a new era
Madison Mayor Armstrong
is ready for business
baseball coach takes the field in a new game
(February 2008) Tim Armstrong says he didnt
do it for the money or the glory. He ran for mayor of Madison to set
a different course for his beloved hometown and to raise the bar for
excellence. He believes Madison can do better and, after only three
weeks in office, he has set out on a course to prove it.
by Don Ward
Tim Armstrong is working to
unite community groups with a
common strategy for success.
Ive lived here all of my life, and I wanted
more for my community, he said of his decision to run for office.
Weve done a lot, but theres so much more that we can
During an hour-long interview in his newly remodeled office Jan. 24,
the 47-year-old former police detective captain and high school baseball
coach outlined his goals and described the whirlwind of activity he
had experienced since taking the oath of office on Jan. 1.
Its been crazy, but its all been good. Weve
got a lot of work to do, said Armstrong, a Democrat who defeated
13-year incumbent Republican Al Huntington in the Nov. 6 election.
He says he wants to bring the various organizations and groups together
to work for the overall good of Madison. With the 200-year Madison Bicentennial
Celebration coming up in 2009 and the Madison Bicentennial Park development
under way, he believes he has the perfect opportunity to do so.
Weve got good groups out there, but we need to bring these
groups together so we are all working on one strategy or plan for our
future, he said.
He was referring to such entities as the Madison Area Convention and
Visitors Bureau, Madison Main Street Program, Historic Madison Inc.,
the Madison Riverfront Development Committee and the newly formed Madison
Armstrong began his term by selecting the people who would form his
new administration. He retained two former city hall staffers
engineer Randy Eggenspiller and fire chief Steve Horton. Harold Pewee
Lakeman had served as purchasing manager for Huntington but has been
tapped by Armstrong to serve as parks director. Its a position
Lakeman held for 13 years prior to Huntingtons reign.
Armstrong selected his longtime friend, John Wallace, to serve as police
chief, replacing the recently retired Bob Wolf. Andy Lytle was hired
as Special Projects Administrator and will serve on the Madison Area
Convention and Visitors Board as the mayors appointment. Mike
Hoffman is serving as Building Inspector.
Armstrong is also working closely with newly elected Dave Adams, a Republican
who was voted to replace Clerk-Treasurer Beverly Armstrong, who retired
after 16 years. Adams relinquished his position on the City Council
to run for the post.
In addition, the City Council has undergone a dramatic re-ordering,
with the November election of four new members, three of them Democrats
and no women Democrat Rick Berry (2nd District), Democrat
Pete Backus (3rd District), Democrat Darrell Henderson (5th District)
and Republican Damon Welch (At Large). They now sit on the council with
Democrat Bob Schoenstein (1st District) and Republicans Jim Lee (4th
District) and Bob May (At Large).
With the first two City Council meetings behind him, Armstrong said
he has now shaken off the jitters and is ready to get down to work.
He has spent much of his time meeting with representatives of business,
industry and various organizations. He has met with outgoing and incoming
department heads to assess the current status of projects and problems
of running the city. He has attended countless meetings and sat in on
strategy sessions as he strives to get a grasp on his new job.
Armstrong has spent a lot of time with Corey Murphy, executive director
of the Madison-Jefferson County Industrial Development Corp in devising
strategies to promote job growth and lure businesses to the new Industrial
Park on the hilltop. He has heard from industry leaders on areas in
need of improvement for Madison to become a stonger competitor in the
We are way behind in many respects, and we need to do everything
we can to catch up, or neighboring communities are going to pass us
by, he said.
For instance, he is having the citys website overhauled. He is
meeting with state officials in February to keep pressure on funding
for a future replacement bridge for the 78-year-old Ohio
River Bridge connecting Madison and Milton, Ky.
Armstrong reported news on two other ongoing projects that
progress would soon be made on the Madison Riverfront Development project
and the Heritage Trail bicycle and walking path leading from the hilltop
to the downtown riverfront.
The long-delayed approval of the next phase of the Madison Riverfront
development was forwarded to state officials on Jan. 25 for final approval.
Once approved, nearly $1 million in funding will be released to continue
developing the sidewalk east to the bridge and complete work on the
river overlook, he said. The bidding on the project could take place
as early as June, with the work to begin by August.
The Heritage Trail, meanwhile, had been held up due to a property dispute
in the downtown area near the former Madison Railroad incline. A solution
to resolving the dispute was in sight, he said. The final
leg of the path from the bottom of the incline to the riverfront has
yet to be paved. Another phase on the hilltop has not yet started, but
federal transportation enhancement funds totaling nearly $1 million
has been pledged for the project.
Armstrong admits he has a full plate but is committed to exploring all
his options. Among his short-range goals are cleaner streets. He wants
to restart the now-defunct Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.)
program in local schools. He wants to create a Merit Board to handle
personnel matters in the police department. And he wants to create an
open-door atmosphere to allow citizens to become more involved.
I ran on a platform of change, and I am committed to that,
he said. I want more people to become involved in local government.
Madison is essentially the people, and I want them to be able to participate
in presenting ideas and be allowed to help put them into action.
Back to February 2008