Governance committee mulls city growth

Madison city planner Amy Sturdivant explains plans for Madison's expected growth to governance committee members Bob Drolet, clockwise from top, former state senator Tom Butler, Cynthia McCollum, Mary Lynne Wright and John Allen. (RECORD PHOTO/GREGG PARKER)
Madison city planner Amy Sturdivant explains plans for Madison’s expected growth to governance committee members Bob Drolet, clockwise from top, former state senator Tom Butler, Cynthia McCollum, Mary Lynne Wright and John Allen. (RECORD PHOTO/GREGG PARKER)

MADISON – What kind of community will Madison be when the city population ‘maxes’ out at 70,000 people?

That question was the main consideration for the Madison Governance Committee 2025 at its Sept. 16 meeting. Committee chairman John Allen posed the question, based on forecasters’ estimates for Madison’s population potential.

The 10-member governance committee is studying Madison’s municipal leadership. Allen suggested the committee divide into three teams to concentrate on government by city administrator, city manager and mayor/council.

Amy Sturdivant, Director of Planning and Development for the City of Madison, gave overviews on current and possible future projects in her “Grow MADISON” presentation.

She defined ‘economic development’ as business attraction of retail stores, along with industrial growth to generate jobs.

The city can both retain businesses and help with expansions if Madison residents are familiar with available products and services, Sturdivant said. The “Find More Madison” campaign promotes shopping in Madison first. Residents can identify stores and business at findmoremadison.com.

Community promotion is important because “no one can buy into us if they don’t know us,” Sturdivant said. “We try to promote, not individual businesses, but the overall community and lifestyle. We do this hand in hand with Madison Chamber of Commerce and Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau.”

Fortunately, “business climate enhancement” is advancing. “From an industry standpoint, the state has come on strong in the last few years, especially with the ‘Made in Alabama’ initiative,” Sturdivant said.

Connected with a city’s capital improvement program, “life quality” is a major attraction for large firms looking to expand, she said. Madison’s 2012 Growth Plan identified key development areas as the County Line Road and U. S 72 corridors, western segment, Old Madison Pike, Midtown Madison, downtown and I-565/Madison Boulevard gateway.

After the presentation, committee member Kris McBride asked Sturdivant, “What do you need most from city leadership?” “Engagement” in the planning process was Sturdivant’s response. “We’ve had (engagement) through different administrations.”

A few committee members will visit city leaders in Vestavia Hills and Hoover on Sept. 18.

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