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Growth Formula

Lanier Mansion Master Plan
envisions future historical campus

Utility and street improvements
part of project’s phase one

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(May 2010) – Lanier Mansion State Historic House, the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Jefferson County Heritage Center could all one day be part of a historical campus if funding becomes available for a new Master Plan for developing the properties.

Manier Mansion Map

Illustration provided

The Lanier Mansion State Historic
Home, the Madison Area Visitors
Bureau and Convention Center,
the Lanier Mansion Gift Shop and
the Jefferson County Historical
Society Heritage Center could all one
day become part of a historical
complex if funding is approved for
30-year master plan.

The 30-year, three-phase, multimillion dollar plan includes everything from sewer upgrades and street improvements to an expanded events area in the Visitors Center that would include a small catering area.
“The Master Plan is a road map for improvements and to determine priorities,” said Laura Minzes, deputy director of historic site properties for Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources. “We’ve had all of these great ideas floating around but were not able to prioritize them until now.”
In February, DNR officials held an open house at the Lanier Mansion, 601 W. First St., to solicit public input on a plan for developing the property there. Minzes said representatives from organizations, officials, and various groups were brought in and given a chance to discuss some of those ideas.
“Phase one doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that some of the other phases do,” said Minzes. “However, many of the projects in this phase are necessary to move on.” Items from different phases could move up depending on funding, she noted.
“This plan is very feasible, particularly in a public and private type of partnership with the Lanier Mansion Foundation,” she said. “Not only do we want the Lanier Mansion to become even more of a landmark than it is, we want to increase tourism in Madison and use this plan as a complement to the economic development of the city as a whole.”
The Lanier Mansion is the 1844 Greek Revival Home of James F. D. Lanier. It was designed by famed architect Francis Costigan. It is located in the city’s National Historic Landmark District and is considered one of the central pieces in the prestigious designation.
Gerry Reilly, site manager of the Lanier Mansion, said phase one of the project would take approximately 10 years and would include exterior, utility, drainage and site improvements. A new storage facility for the mansion will also be added.
The phase calls for a recreation of the former High Street, which used to run in front of the mansion. “The street would not be for vehicles,” said Reilly. “It would help give a visual on how the original site used to look but could also be used for horse and carriages.”
Other road improvements, if approved by the city, would include a traffic narrowing on Vine Street and other work on the streets surrounding the properties.
“We eventually want to have a unified look to the area and create a historical campus,” said Reilly.
The projected budget for the Mansion Block of the Master Plan totals more than $5 million, while the Kendall Block, which includes the Lanier Mansion Gift Shop and Madison Visitors Center, would total a little more than $7 million.
“I think the long term plans are great,” said Linda Lytle, executive director of Madison’s CVB.
Currently, the Lanier Mansion is undergoing a restoration project that will return the East Wing to its original look. It should be finished by late spring or early summer, said Reilly.

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