Downtown renovation continues: Retail, housing, greenways mix foreseen

By Staff
Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
If you could completely redesign how down downtown Madison looks and function, what would your vision be?
City officials have been thinking in those terms. In fact, the city hired some time ago the Auburn University School of Architecture to study the area and come up with a plan for revitalizing the downtown Madison area.
Two AU professors and two of their fourth-year architecture students thoroughly explained their plan last Wednesday night during a town meeting at the Madison City Complex.
Casey Ivy and Jack Mazzola came prepared with lots of maps, drawings and enthusiasm. They laid out comprehensive plan that included many of road redesign around the Front Street and Main Street area, several new commercial ideas, and plenty of on-street parking.
Their overall plan goal is to attract more people and business to the downtown area and facilitate pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
They idealize a mixture of civic and residential that includes a senior center, various kinds of shops, a museum, a recreation center, a movie theatre, some New Orleans style housing, parks and greenways that stretch from north to south from the Madison Library to Madison Boulevard. A vacant warehouse would become a place for artists to work and sell their creations. There was even talk of a commuter train to connect Decatur, Madison and Huntsville, which spurred a comment about a train connection to Redstone Arsenal. There would be some 300 parking spaces downtown on the street and right in front of shopping opportunities.
There were questions and discussion as to how to make the plan become reality.
According to city councilman Marc Jacobson, an action plan is anticipated as part of the consultation project.
Jacobson and Mayor Jan Wells have been instrumental in moving the downtown revitalization project along.
In the coming weeks, the proposal will be assimilated into a package that includes visualizations, which can be shared with the masses.

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