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Brainstorming Session

Ideas from ‘Imagine Madison’
will be presented on July 18

Session is culmination of
Ball State students’ work in town

By Laura Hodges
Contributing Writer

MADISON, Ind. (July 2011) – Local residents can continue to “Imagine Madison” during the month of July.
Led by undergraduate and graduate students at Ball State University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, the community visioning project will continue this month with a public presentation at 7 p.m. Monday, July 18. It will be held at the West Street Gallery, 301 West St.

Local residents

Photo courtesy of Meagan Tuttle/BSU

Local residents participated in a June
workshop in downtown Madison, Ind.,
to view ideas for developing the city.

Everyone who would like to hear and talk about innovative ideas for the city of Madison is welcome to attend. The presentation is the culmination of a process that included completion of surveys by many Madison residents, site research by students and interaction between residents and college students over several months.
On June 16-18, the students and three faculty members led a “charette” or workshop at the former Kernen’s Hardware location. Nearly 100 drawings were displayed to illustrate ideas from the 28 participating students.
“We seemed to have a pretty positive response,” said Meagan Tuttle, a master’s candidate and teaching assistant with the Ball State program. “That was very encouraging to us as well.”
Jenny Eggenspiller, development director of the city of Madison, said, “I felt that they did a good job of getting input from the community and making (residents) feel welcome.”
She said, “It was refreshing to speak with young people who have good ideas and are interested in taking them to our community.”
One community member who attended the charette, Jan Vetrhus, said the most surprising idea to her was the “water lift” up the railroad incline. In simple terms, the system would consist of two cars, which would be on opposite ends of a pulley system. The north end would be at Johnson Lake, where a tank in one car would be filled with water. At the same time, the car at the south end would empty its water into the Ohio River. Gravity would pull the heavy car slowly down the hill as the lighter car ascends. “I’m really excited about that,” she said.

Presentation

Photo courtesy of Meagan Tuttle/BSU

Participants look on materials
provided during workshop.

Vetrhus also liked the idea of terracing the riverbank with retaining walls and vegetation to hold the soil in place during flooding. “However high the river is, it looks the way it is supposed to look. That way the riverbank is always useful,” she said.
Vetrhus is chairman of the Mitigation Committee which allotted money to the “Imagine Madison” project. The Mitigation Committee is managing funds given by the states of Kentucky and Indiana to mitigate any negative economic effects from construction of the Madison-Milton Bridge.
Tuttle said one reason the Ball State group has come up with such innovative ideas is “we’re coming in with an outsider’s perspective. Many of our students had never been in Madison before.” They were encouraged to draw on knowledge they have learned in the classroom and to use their own imaginations freely.
She said the ideas fall into five main categories:
• Sustainability;
• Redevelopment;
• Transportation;
• Corridors (such as entry ways to Madison and connections between areas);
• Tourism and Economic Development.
A team of five students is looking at issues surrounding sustainability. Tuttle said they are considering a model for the 100 block of East Main Street to become “energy and resource independent,” that is to find energy sources that aren’t dependent on coal. That block could also become a model for re-use of water runoff, Tuttle said.
Tuttle said that at the end of the “Imagine Madison” project, the Ball State group will present a comprehensive report with all the ideas generated by the student team as well as community residents.
“Then it’s in Madison’s hands to find the movers and shakers to implement these ideas,” she said.
Eggenspiller commented that although the students were not expected to provide cost estimates or feasibility studies, they were fairly practical in the ideas they presented. She added, “They realize the possibility of public-private partnerships. They’re not expecting to put all this on the shoulders of the city.”
After public presentation of ideas on the July 18, a steering committee will evaluate the ideas and possibly begin implementing some of them.
Community members who were invited to serve on the steering committee are: Camille Fife, Dan Baughman, Dave Adams, Dee Comstock, Jim Lee, Jan Vetrhus, Jim Pruett, John Bruns, Karla Gauger, Kathie Petkovic, Larry Folkner, Larry Newhouse, Leticia Bajuyo, Linda Lytle, Lucy Dattilo, Nadja Boone, Peter Ellis, Rhonda Deeg, Beth Black, Robyn Ryle, Terry Smith, and Tony Ratcliff.

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