Finley describes ‘a mature community’ at Connect 2018

MADISON – Retail growth, quality-of-life assets and plans for community improvements were on the audience’s minds during Connect 2018.

Held at The Davidson Center at U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the annual gala offered a venue for Mayor Paul Finley to give his “State of the City” address.

After an opening cocktail hour, guests enjoyed a formal dinner under the Saturn V rocket. Then, Finley spoke with his ‘state of the city’ comments. He played a video that summarized progress and activities for Madison’s during 2017.

“The maturing of Madison” set the tone for Finley’s speech. With mushrooming population during three decades, Madison now has options to add entertainment, retail and medical options that the city has never had.

In health care, Madison Hospital is engaged in its second expansion with 22 private patient rooms, eight ICU rooms, MRI suite and emergency room space. For entertainment, Cineplanet 15 opened in summer 2017 as Madison’s first movie theater. Infinity Complex continues to offer fun pursuits for recreational.

Grocery stores are interested in Madison, Finley said. Kroger opened its new flagship supermarket on Wall Triana, and Publix will anchor a shopping center with 75,000 square feet in Kroger’s former address on Hughes Road.

Madison Public Library’s new building will open on Jan. 27 and will be “outfitted for today’s Internet-based world,” Finley said. Madison City Council recently approved the revitalization master plan for Palmer Park to add a playground, parking, dog park and three soccer fields, along with extending Bradford Creek Greenway.

Part of “growing in the middle” will be the Sealy project, a four-story, 150-unit apartment in contemporary/urban style with retail space, just south of Main Street in downtown Madison.

“When we say ‘Madison is becoming a mature community,’ don’t for a minute think that means ‘dull and boring.’ As you can see, it’s just the opposite,” Finley said.

In coming weeks, Finley promised updates for Town Madison’s progress and work in Clift Acres.

Madison Chamber of Commerce devotes a portion of Connect’s proceeds for the “Mayor’s Award for Scholastic Excellence.” The award recognizes overall academic excellence and outstanding accomplishments in one academic discipline. A senior from James Clemens and Bob Jones high schools will receive a monetary scholarship.

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