America's Best Communities

Madison, Ind. advances to next round
in national contest

City’s representatives set to present case
to judges in April

(April 2016) – Representatives from Madison, Ind., will travel to Durham, N.C., in late April to compete in the next round of the America’s Best Communities contest. The three presenters in the contest will be Andrew Forrester, Community Relations Manager for the City of Madison, Valecia Crisafulli, director of Envision Jefferson’s County economic development project, and Linda Lytle, executive director of VisitMadison Inc., the local tourism office.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Forrester

Volunteers spend a Saturday afternoon in early March cleaning up debris on Madison, Ind.’s Hatcher Hill, which is set for re-opening as a pedestrian and bicycle path in the near future.

The three presenters will make a live presentation to the judges at the America ‘s Best Communities Summit, scheduled for April 26-27 at a resort in Durham, N.C., in hopes of advancing to the final eight, with each team earning $100,000 to bring their plans to life. The final eight contenders will have one year to implement their strategies, and the top three communities that make the largest impact and show the greatest potential for achieving sustainable revitalization will be selected as the grand prize winners.
In April 2017, the final eight teams will be reduced to three finalists, with third place receiving $1 million, second place receiving $2 million and the winner collecting a whopping $3 million.
On Jan. 13, it was announced that Madison had advanced to become one of 15 semifinalists in the $10 million America’s Best Communities contest. About 30 people gathered at Madison City Hall to attend the announcement, made by Frontier Communications Southern Indiana Regional General Manager Mark Evans. Frontier and its partners are sponsoring the nationwide contest.
Madison earned $50,000 last summer when it was selected from more than 400 applicants as one of 50 quarterfinalists in the contest. City officials spent that money on a Community Revitalization Plan by hiring Ratio Architects of Indianapolis to create it. The plan was required to compete for the next round and was submitted to the judges on Nov. 6. No cash award was associated with this latest advancement to become a semifinalist.
On March 5, several community volunteers gathered at Madison’s Hatcher Hill to take part in a cleanup of the abandoned road that leads from the hilltop to downtown. The road has been closed to vehicle traffic for years.
City officials hope to re-open the road to pedestrian and bicycle traffic as part of the Envision Project’s community-wide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The plan is also linked to the America’s Best Communities presentation.
It is hoped that the bicycle and pedestrian plan will eventually link the entire community to the Heritage Trail and other bicycle connectors, officials said.
During the Hatcher Hill cleanup, a video was shot to be part of Madison’s presentation in Durham. The large turnout of volunteers was encouraging, Forrester said.
“We want to show not only the America’s Best Communities national team, but the entire country that our community is engaged, excited about, and invested in this competition,” he said.
Madison Mayor Damon Welch said in a press release, “This is about more than Hatcher Hill. Re-opening the hill for pedestrians is just one small part of making our community more attractive to prospective employers, residents and visitors. If our community can show support and success in this step, we know it will help make our case for bringing additional dollars to spur on economic vitality in the coming years.”
Forrester is using social media to help encourage community involvement. He recently put out a call on Facebook for Madison residents to submit short videos of themselves telling why they love Madison. The Madison team is also asking residents to continue to use the hashtags #ABCMadison and #ABC15 on social media “to show the world the great things happening in Madison.”

Residents can learn more about how to be a part of Madison’s efforts to be America’s Best Community by going to the Facebook page for ABCMadison and the city’s website at www.Madison-in.gov.

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