State students see Madison
as a city of future innovation
ideas for city improvement
were generated in study
(August 2011) For the past few months, Ball
State University students from the College of Architecture and Planning
have been inviting residents to Imagine Madison with innovative
new features. These are recommendations to the City of Madison stemming
from several weeks of study and questionnaires.
Among the ideas:
A permanent stage at Madison Bicentennial Park made from steel
salvaged from the Madison-Milton Bridge;
Gateway arches at Madisons city limits;
A water taxi that uses gravity, water weight and human weight
to pull a passenger car up and down the Madison railroad incline.
rendition of a
future riverwalk is
among the ideas
created in a Ball State
The visioning process culminated with a public presentation
July 18 at the West Street Art Gallery. Residents were invited to view
drawings and hear explanations about dozens of ideas the students proposed
to solve Madisons challenges in the areas of sustainability, redevelopment,
transportation, corridors, tourism and economic development.
Scott Truex, a Ball State faculty adviser for the project, began the
meeting by saying, Our purpose is to stir things up, get you motivated.
The main focus is, were really committed to improving the quality
of life in the communities we work in.
He said even real estate developers have started focusing on places
rather than location, location, location.
Madison is already a place, said Truex. Madison
has such a rich character. I think you are one of the gems of Madison.
Sixty-three community members attended the presentation.
I was very pleased with the attendance, the questions and the
interest by the community, as well as the presentations by the students,
said Rhonda Deeg, who volunteers with Madisons Main Street Program.
I thought they were excellent opportunities and options that Main
Street Program can now look at and prioritize.
She added that the presentation was filmed by Channel 15. It will be
aired from time to time, and the DVD will be available at $10.
Many of the ideas described by the Ball State students involved additional
improvements to Madisons riverfront. Kyle VanKlompenburg envisioned
stadium seating facing the water, for better viewing of the Regatta
and other events.
The bank itself could be terraced, with water-loving plants on each
level and places for campgrounds. An anchored riverboat could provide
space for a museum. Recycled steel from the Ohio River bridge could
be fashioned into a permanent stage at Bicentennial Park.
It would become your identity, added VanKlompenburg.
He also described a skate park for young people, as well as a childrens
fountain, miniature golf and a Frisbee golf course. He suggested a sidewalk
on the north side of Vaughn Drive and additional landscaping. A sculpture
at the foot of Jefferson Street could entice people from Main Street
to come toward the riverfront.
VanKlompenburg also presented a suggestion for the former Elks Lodge
on West Street. The idea is to stabilize the outside walls of the structure,
but not to roof it. The interior could be used for open-air dining.
It saves the facade of the building, he said.
Beth Resler spoke on re-use of the Kings Daughters Hospital
& Health Services campus, which will be partially vacated when the
new hospital, now under construction, opens on the Madison hilltop in
2012. She suggested a veterans hospital or an Alzheimers
research facility. The students thought medical use would be the least
costly solution because it would require less remodeling. Other uses
might be a business incubator or an artist colony. Another student,
Rex Ramage, mentioned that the site could become a transportation hub
or a hotel complex.
Resler also talked about options for gateway signage at the points where
travelers enter Madison. She talked about the possibilities of sprucing
up Madisons alleys with art installations and enhanced lighting.
Ramage described a Green and Gold Corridor for Madisons
senior citizens as a safe environment for them to move around
the city. It would encompass several streets and sidewalks in
Ramage also discussed a permanent trolley route for visitors that would
link Clifty Falls State Park and the downtown.
Dillivan focused on transportation. He proposed a bus loop including
the downtown and hilltop commercial districts. He suggested that heavy
truck traffic be rerouted to Clifty Drive and U.S. 421, to relieve traffic
on Main Street.
There was also a proposal to eliminate the left turn at Second Street
for cars and trucks leaving the Madison-Milton Bridge. The suggestion
is to extend Harrison Street directly to Main Street. Dillivan said
this would displace only three properties. If the slope can begin as
far south as Adams, the grade to reach Main Street could be held to
3.6 percent, he said.
Surveyed residents said they would like to see a parking garage in downtown
Madison. The students identified a couple of sites that could contain
a multi-level garage of 25,000 square feet or more. They cautioned that
the building would have to fit in with the prevailing architecture of
the area. One drawing showed a building with retail at ground level
and two levels of parking above it.
Several options for Main Street parking were presented, if it could
be changed from a state highway to a locally controlled street.
Historically, Madison had angled parking on Main Street,
said Dillivan. Some of the options included bike lanes, enhanced crosswalks
and additional landscaping.
Meagan Tuttle suggested that one block of downtown, bounded by Main
Street, West Street, Second Street and Mulberry Street, be designated
a Green Block. The ultimate goal for the block was
to strive for energy independence, meaning the businesses and residences
along the block would generate energy from non-coal sources and reduce
waste, said a handout.
Nathan Montoya and Anne Vestuto, owners of Village Lights Bookstore
in that block, are excited about the prospect. We would love to
implement anything and everything. Its a question of how and of
course the affordability, said Montoya. He said his first project
is likely to be historically compliant storm windows, which decrease
energy use and reduce noise. He is also considering a rain-water collection
system, roof plantings and solar panels. Wed love to see
our electric meter spin backwards, he said.
Tuttle presented the idea of a water taxi to traverse Madisons
famous inclined railroad cut. Members of the audience seemed intrigued
and asked for more information. 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.
Truex said the idea comes from Scotland, where it is a huge tourist
You have ancestors in this community who did these kind of things,
like grist mills. Thats consistent with your heritage. Youre
going to make new history of what Madison can be, said Truex.
Near the end of the presentation, Truex said drawings and explanations
will be put in a final report and posted on the website, www.imaginemadison.org.
Our process is not complete, he said. It needs to
become a conversation.
Truex said he will meet with the local steering committee, which includes
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
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