Citizens weigh in on Madison’s need for green space
By Kathryn Purcell
When it comes to green space within Madison's city limits, there is no shortage of opinion.
Residents of Madison and Morgan County voiced their thoughts on the landscape of the city at a forum, the second of two, held Thursday night by the City of Madison and its Greenspace Commission.
"We've been listening," Greenspace Commission member Rick Crown said.
Aside from gathering information through one-on-one discussion, forum attendees were also asked to complete a survey.
The number one request, according to Crown, has been for additional "passive green space," or more space for walking and biking trails as well as parks. ("Active green space," on the other hand, is space like the Morgan County Recreation Department fields, used for sports.)
Given that Madison is laid out in a grid system, the general feeling at the forums has been that these kinds of passive green spaces flow well with the city's design as opposed to the design of neighborhoods, which are considered more insular with each individual home having its own green space- the backyard.
"The grid system promotes connectivity, whereas, with [neighborhood] cul de sacs, there's only one entry and exit," Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan said. "Often there are less sidewalks in these areas."
"People really like the proximity of parks in Madison," consultant Chris McCauley said.
"They like to be able to walk over there [to a park]."
"We want to keep the spirit of Madison alive," Crown said.
Callahan cited the diversity of city residents, specifically in regards to age, as another reason for adding passive green space.
"We are looking to accommodate all aspects of the community and all ranges of play," Callahan said.
"Recreation means a lot of things to a lot of people. The Morgan County Recreation Department does a great job with active green space."
Attendees also commented on maintaining and building the city's tree canopy, Crown said.
The county will complete an update to its Comprehensive (Comp) Plan, which includes the City of Madison, early next year.
"It's no surprise everybody would like to see more green space," McCauley said.
"With future growth coming, we need to seek green space now, before it gets too expensive."
McCauley, hired by the city as a consultant, will develop a document based on this input to be added to the Comp Plan, which is set to be completed in February.