By Tia Lynn Ivey
Madison’s Downtown Development Authority officials are seeing the fruits of their labor as multiple underway projects near completion.
Ed Latham, director of the DDA, presented an update on several ongoing projects to the Madison Mayor and City Council at the last work session, on Friday, Mar. 29.
Latham reported on developments concerning the Gilmore House, the Canaan Corner Store, the West Washington Gateway makeover, repurposing the Morgan County Middle School building, and a new Habitat for Humanity house beginning construction soon.
“All of this is going to be great,” said Madison Mayor Fred Perriman after hearing Latham’s report.
According to Latham, the Gilmore House, a community development project that includes two apartment units, a community gathering space, and space for two businesses, is filled up.
“We now have two startup businesses in the Gilmore House,” said Latham. “Everything in the Gilmore House is leased out.”
Latham also announced that the Canaan Corner Store has a new tenant that will open a restaurant out of the space once renovations are completed. It’s expected to serve soul food and to open in midsummer.
“It will get a lot of business,” said Latham.
Latham also noted that the ongoing West Washington Gateway project is moving full steam a head, on time and on budget. The $1.3 million project aims to makeover the West Washington Gateway but installing stormwater infrastructure and clearing dilapidated buildings to ready the area for private investors to develop the land.
As reported earlier by the Morgan County Citizen, according to Monica Callahan, senior planner, city of Madison Planning and Development Department, the 40 acre project, which includes the removal of the current EZ Bottle liquor store and turning that area into “Clark Park,” will eventually be the preferred entrance into Madison.
“This is currently one of three entrances to the Historic District in Madison and is the most unattractive. When we get done, it’s going to be the most attractive,” said Callahan at Lunch and Learn forum on the West Washington Gateway project last month.
Latham estimates that once the West Washington Gateway is completed, the area will add more than $10 million to the city in value.
Latham also noted a new Habitat for Humanity house in Madison is currently in the planning phases to be built. Latham was also excited to work with the school system to find a new purpose for the Morgan County Middle School, which used to be Pearl Street High School, once the new middle school opens on the consolidated campus on College Drive.
We are willing to jump in a help,” said Latham.
The Madison Mayor and City Council thanked Latham and the DDA for the organization’s important contributions to the City of Madison.