By Tia Lynn Ivey
The city of Madison is entering the new decade with fresh eyes and a new vision for the future.
According to Madison Mayor Fred Perriman, the city is starting the new decade on a firm foundation as leaders hope to to build upon recent accomplishments to improve the quality of life for all its citizens.
“In the beginning of 2020, a new decade, our city is in financially good shape,” said Perriman. “Our city is doing wonderful things and we want to keep encouraging people to move here and enjoy the quality of life we have here. We are on the map and we want to continue that trend in the years to come.”
In 2019, the city of Madison made headway in a variety of important areas, including housing, road maintenance, new public facilities, new commercial and residential developments, and quality of life initiatives.
Perriman noted that the council passed a $16.8 million budget but was still able to adopt the rollback millage rate of 7.720, down from 5.765.
“We have tried to keep our taxes low while accomplishing important projects for the city,” said Perriman.
In 2019, the council allotted new funding in the amount $50,000 annually for new sidewalks to be installed throughout the city. In 2020, that money will be used to add sidewalks to East Jefferson Street and Vine Street. The City also resurfaced Park Lane and Concord Lane in 2019.
The West Washington Street Gateway makeover has been in the works for years, with 2019 yielding big result. In 2019, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) finalized a $2 million stormwater infrastructure project, which handles one-third of the
Joseph Smith, of Architecture Collaborative in Athens, completed the design for the building on Washington Street, across from Adrian’s, that will house “long-term area anchors.”
“A restaurant and package store will be there,” said Perriman.
The City of Madison also helped facilitate new housing developments currently in the works. The Wellbridge development, currently under construction, will be a continuum of care development with 250-plus units and 24/7 care facilities in Madison. Canaan Crossing, a planned work-force townhouse community, is in the works after Parallel Housing, Inc. and WODA, working with the DDA, received approval and Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and HOME funding for the 60 townhouse development project.
The new Lambert Park is currently under construction and will feature beautiful landscaping, picnic areas and public art. The Martin Tot Lot, a park for children under the age of six, is also under construction on White Hall Street.
“The tot lot will have equipment for younger children with an education theme to honor educators such as Marie Bass Martin’s legacy,” said Perriman. “These spaces are a quality of life issue.”
Perriman noted the Central of Georgia Depot is being transformed into a future “trailhead and community building,” that will accommodate visitors and events.
“The exterior is nearly complete with platforms, thanks to private donations and the leadership and dedication of the Historic Madison-Morgan Foundation’s David Land,” said Perriman.
Perriman also praised the city’s Public Arts Commission, which is currently creating the “Art Where We Live” program, which will involve three to four rotating installations throughout the community. The first installation can be seen at Town Park in Downtown Madison.
Perriman also noted that the city’s Greenspace Commission is in the works of finalizing the route of the “model mile” of a “family-friendly trail for the Madison Greenway, through a 25-plus acre gift from a private donor.”
New restrooms for Hill Park also in the design process. The city hopes to add restrooms to other neighborhood parks, like Wellington and Gilbert parks, in the future. The City is also in the process of rehabilitating Smith Cottage, which is next to the Madison Public Safety Building.
“We have so many positive things happening in the city that will add to our citizens’ quality of life,” said Perriman.
Perriman noted several economic improvements on the horizon, including the 40-acre industrial property recently gifted to the city for future economic development. There is a Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store with a Hardie’s restaurant attached that is currently in plan review.
“We expect to break ground at I-20 Exit 113 in the Fall,” said Perriman.
Bard Manufacturing has completed Phase I of the company’s expansion and will soon begin Phase II later in 2020. The R&B Cafe, which replaced the Canaan Store, has opened its doors.
“It’s doing great business,” said Perriman.
Perriman also noted that Bhugesh Investments is expanding its facility to accommodate vehicles for the film industry.
The City has also been working on update utilities, to make equipment more efficient and extensive.
The city now has new water meters for the entire system that can be monitored at the main office.
“Leaks will be detected quickly and customers informed to save water and money,” said Perriman.
The Water Treatment Plans are now using SCADA software, which allows for monitoring of all functions remotely, including on smart phones.
“Next, we are working on a utility mapping project,” said Perriman.
The city is planning to map water, gas and sewer through GPS into a geographic information system available on crews’ smart phones in the field “aiding location of infrastructure during emergency and non-emergency situations.”
Perriman is proud of the progress the City of Madison has made thus far and hopes to continue improving the City of Madison.
“We live in a great city,” said Perriman. “We are always trying to be better and will always work for betterment of all our citizens.”