Madison City Council approves three $8,000 tourism grant contracts

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City council also addressed: Alcohol server certification course through; building of a skateboard park; recent crosswalk accident

By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

During the regular meeting of the Madison City Council on Sept. 9, the Council approved tourism grants in the amount of $8,000 a piece to the Morgan County African-American Museum, the Morgan County Historical Society, and the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center.

“These are the same grants we give every year,” said Mayor Bruce Gilbert about the tourism grants.

The Council also voted in favor of using as an approved alcohol server certification course. As of now, Madison only allows the use of one online certification course in order to give preference for “live,” in-person courses, which Council Member Michael Naples stated are more rigorous than most online courses.

The motion to approve the course noted that the approval is only temporary and that other online courses that will be available in the future will also be tested and compared with as they become available. Chad Foster, Madison resident, spoke to the Council about the possibility of building a skateboard park at one of Madison’s existing park.

Foster stated that his children skateboard and that they have to travel to Rutledge or Athens in order to use a skatepark, but that he believes that the construction of a skatepark at one of the parks in Madison would give children an outlet for individual athletic activities.

Foster stated that a skatepark with a layout similar to the one in Rutledge would have an estimated cost of $50,000 to $65,000 and measure approximately 50 feet by 85 feet.

Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan recommended that Foster speak with her about the possibilities regarding the possible construction location of a skatepark and also suggested that he approach the Greenspace Commission with his ideas.

Eric Joyce, a concerned citizen of Madison, told the board that he is “distressed” regarding the recent pedestrian accident in downtown Madison, and that a second accident of that kind inside of a year is “intolerable.”

“The situation is embarrassing,” said Joyce.

Attorney Joe Reitman explained that pedestrians share part of the responsibility regarding safety in the crosswalks, and Council Member Joseph DiLetto stated that he and Naples spoke to City Manager David Nunn that same day and that Nunn is preparing a “full frontal assault” on the DOT to force them to allow improvements on Madison’s crosswalks.

In other news:

The Council voted Council Member Rick Blanton to the position of Mayor Pro Tempore;

David Clark, manager of the Madison Walmart, invited the Mayor and Council to a rededication ceremony to be held at the Walmart at 8 a.m. on Friday;

Human Resources/Accounting Specialist Betsy Philyaw was appointed to the position of Pension Committee Secretary;

The Council confirmed the current terms of the Historic Preservation Commission members;

And Callahan stated that a meeting about tourism in residential areas will be held next week, and a draft of an agreement should be ready for the Council by their Sept. work session.

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