Imagine Madison with a grand Main Street boulevard
lined with trees and flowering plants adorning benches and shaded tables
filled with outdoor diners while shoppers stroll the sidewalks.
Imagine Madison with a central park-like gathering place in the heart
of downtown that often features live entertainers and a vibrant Farmers
Market several days a week.
Imagine Madison with a riverfront that offers more than walking but also
restaurants and restrooms and places to gather and enjoy the scenic Ohio
River perhaps even a marina for those visiting the city by
boat or a dock for launching cruise boat excursions.
Imagine Madison with stylish wayfaring signs and highway road signs directing
pedestrians and drivers to the citys attractions, festivals and
points of interest all connected through a common logo and theme.
Imagine Madison with a cultural arts center located in the heart of the
downtown district, complete with a theater, tourism office, art gallery
and gift shop.
These are but a few of the ideas being studied by a group of Ball State
University students who are spending several days in Madison over the
summer to survey residents and develop recommendations about how the city
could improve and better capitalize on its assets. The city has contracted
with Ball State Universitys College of Architecture and Planning
for $16,000 to do the study and present its findings by late summer. This
is conducted through the colleges Community Based Projects Program,
which completed a similar visioning study in Madison in 1986. The study
was paid for with Milton-Madison Bridge Mitigation funds.
Community Workshop Schedule
16-18: Community Charrette Workshop. Open to public at 303 W.
Main St. (in former location of Kernens Hardware)
July 18: Community Presentation of Study Findings,
7 p.m. at location TBD.
Information: Jenny Eggenspiller at Madison City Hall
at (812) 265-8300
Imagine Madison is the name being given to this initiative,
which began in April and already has a website and Facebook page dedicated
to it: www.ImagineMadison.org.
In fact several students spent a weekend in mid-May surveying residents
at a tent provided to them at the Ohio River Valley Folk Festival. While
in Madison, the students kicked off the initiative during a Meet
and Greet party held May 19 at Village Lights Bookstore. More than
100 people attended the event to hear about the study and take part in
the survey. The students also conducted about 50 surveys the following
Saturday morning at the Farmers Market held weekly at the Broadway Fountain.
Led by professor Scott Truex, the students will return in mid-June to
conduct a Community Charrette Workshop, whereby the public will be invited
to stop in and view drawings and resulting ideas from the surveys and
provide feedback on them. The students will set up at 303 W. Main St.
in the former Kernens Hardware store building. The doors will be
open late Thursday, all day Friday and most of Saturday, June 16-18, according
to Truex. He has already met recently with Madisons Riverfront Development
Committee and a newly formed Steering Committee of residents, merchants
and government officials to launch the study. He plans to make a public
presentation of the final report July 18 at a time and location to be
We are very excited to be working with Madison again,Truex
said. It is always great when you are invited back into a community
that has accomplished so many of the ideas and recommendation form a previous
workshop in this case the 1986 Riverfront Charrette.
Jenny Eggenspiller, Linda Lytle, Camille Fife, Rhonda Deeg, Jim
Pruett, John Bruns, Lucy Dattilo, Larry Newhouse, Dave Adams, Tony
Ratcliff, Jim Lee, Robin Ryle, Leticia Bajuyo, Peter Ellis, Larry
(chair), Linda Lytle, Rhonda Deeg, Lucy Dattilo, Corey Murphy, Gerry
Reilly, Nathan Montoya, Julie Truax, Steve Thomas, John Staicer,
Trevor Crafton, Kevin Watkins, Greg Ziesemer.
Since the 1986 study, the city has completed its Riverwalk and Madison
Bicentennial Park along the riverfront, which Truex praises as great accomplishments.
The enthusiasm and commitment to continually improve the the downtown
is rare for Indiana communities, he said of this newest initiative.
It is great for our students to get a chance to work with so many
dedicated and committed residents who are passionate about improving the
quality of life of their community. Downtown is a destination as
well as an integral part of many residents daily lives. So our team will
bring fresh eyes combined with community insights to create a strategy
together to continue the success of Madison and broaden the opportunities
for economic success that benefits the entire community.
We are especially excited to look at energy saving ideas for the
historic buildings as part of an overall sustainability strategy for downtown
and the community as a whole.
This workshop has a very broader agenda as it focuses on the downtowns
future as impacted by traffic pattern changes, need to coordinate parking
and and wayfinding efforts, expand the user base for the downtown and
consider new uses for under-utilized parts of the downtown, Truex said.
All of these issues will be framed in new understanding of energy conservation
and sustainability principles.
As a results of initial conversations with the Steering Committee, the
following issues have been determined as part of the study:
Streetscape and gateways;
Inclusive design issues;
Bridge construction impact (positive and negative);
Bus, shuttle, trolley, horse and carriages;
Second floor usage of historic buildings;
Main Street parking;
Historic Building and Green Systems;
On-Site Water Management;
Recycling and Waste Reduction;
Meantime, a Branding Leadership Team continues to meet monthly to develop
a marketing image and brand for the city, while also addressing similar
issues being studied by the Ball State students. In fact, many of the
Branding team members also serve on the Imagine Madison Steering Committee.
With the help of Madison City staff and money from the Milton-Madison
Bridge Mitigation Funds, the Branding Leadership Team in May completed
the hiring of two marketing and consulting firms to guide the effort.
RLR Associates Inc., based in Indianapolis, was hired for $30,500 to develop
a marketing brand for Madison. A week later, Hirons & Co., based in
Indianapolis, was hired for $24,600 to develop public relations materials
to support the branding effort. Both companies are working separately
but simultaneously to hopefully complete their projects by mid-summer,
according to Jan Vetrhus. She heads the Bridge Mitigation Committee that
oversees the expenditure of $205,000 provided to the City of Madison from
the Bridge Replacement Project.
We hope to have both projects completed about the same time so we
can move forward with the next step,Vetrhus said. There is
so much going on right now and we are under a time constraint based on
the construction schedule of the new bridge.
Bridge Mitigation funding also is being earmarked to bolster tourism advertising
($50,000), brand implementation ($25,000), pedestrian and street signage
and gateway signs ($40,000), heritage tourism programming ($15,000) and
contributions to a Buy Local campaign being conducted by the
Madison Main Street Program ($12,000). The remaining $7,900 is being kept
in reserve for use as a contingency fund.
Meanwhile, Bridge Mitigation funding totaling $80,000 has been provided
to the Madison Main Street Program. That agencys board has divided
up the money as follows: $49,000 over two years to hire a part-time administrator;
$16,000 for the Ball State University students to conduct their Imagine
Madison study; $3,000 to conduct business seminars and workshops;
$12,000 for streetscape implementation. Beth Black has been hired to serve
as the agencys administrator.
Meanwhile, Camille Fife, a Madison-based consultant, has been hired by
the City of Madison to serve for two years as the Historic Prservation
Officer. She began her term May 1 and will have an office at City Hall.
The $80,000 for Fifes position is also being paid for with Bridge
Vetrhus and others are hoping to launch the citys new brand when
the new bridge opens, if not before.
The brand and public relations firms that we have hired should complete
their work at about the same time, so we hope to bring it all together
in a few weeks and have something solid to go forward.
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout.
Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email: Don@RoundAbout.bz.