By Tia Lynn Lecorchick (managing editor)
The City of Madison was recognized by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for their recent achievement of becoming a PlanFirst community, a prestigious honor that only 10 communities out of 600 are awarded. The designation began January 1, 2015 and will last until December 31, 2018. Brian Johnson, director of planning and environmental management for the DCA, appeared before the Mayor and City Council on Monday, January 12 to pay homage to the city.
“The City of Madison has demonstrated that it wants to stand out among Georgia’s cities by successfully implementing its comprehensive plan while balancing goals of historic preservation and economic development,” said Johnson. “Madison truly has a vision for itself that other Georgia cities should strive to achieve. The DCA PlanFirst program seeks to commend cities like Madison with this first-of-its-kind designation.”
“Because our agency considers effective and coordinated comprehensive planning an essential foundation for economic development and quality of life, we are proud of the planning work your City has demonstrated in recent years,” explained Johnson. “Your PlanFirst designation commends your success and recognizes your City as a leader among local governments in Georgia in the important field of plan development and implementation.”
Monica Callahan, director of city planning, informed the mayor and council of the plethora of benefits the PlanFirst designation affords the city. Benefits include significant reduction on loan rates, extra points on grant application, and ample amounts of free training from the Community Planning Institute for city staff.
“For the next three years, we want to make sure we take advantage of all of these opportunities,” said Callahan.
“We owe this to Monica and her staff,” said David Nunn, city manager. “The job that Monica and her staff do to go out and look for these opportunities, it just rolls over on itself. Madison has good momentum now on several fronts. We have an excellent planning staff. We are laying the groundwork—it’s great today, but think of what it is going to do for us down the line.”