Madison ABC Team Nears Finish
Madison’s America’s Best Communities Team is just days from going to Denver, Colorado to find out if the community’s hard work on Mulberry Street and Hatcher Hill will help bring the grand prize back to Madison. For almost three years, a team of citizens has been working toward this moment. They developed a comprehensive Community Revitalization Plan packed with innovative ideas to stimulate economic development and neighborhood revival, and they’ve taken strides to implement it. Throughout the competition, the community has won a total of $150,000 in grant funding from the program’s sponsors to create its strategy and put it to work.
To help celebrate this accomplishment, the ABC Team will host a community “Rally to be America’s Best” this Saturday and “Grand Prize Parties” next Wednesday during the awards ceremony. On Saturday April 15th, beginning at 5:30pm, community members can join a “Rally to be America’s Best” outside the Ohio Theatre in downtown Madison. Free t-shirts and popcorn will be given to the first 200 that attend the rally. A group picture will be taken with community members wearing the t-shirts at 6:00PM. T-shirt designs are by local graphic designer and owner of Euclid & Woodland Nick Meacham. Shirts have been printed by Liberty Screen Printing. Following the rally and picture, the Ohio Theatre will show “Singing in the Rain” at 7:00pm for just $5 per person.
ABC Team members Valecia Crisafulli, Jim Olson, Lindsay Bloos, Andrew Forrester, and Mayor Damon Welch will fly to Denver, Colorado next week to find out if our community will win one of three grand prizes: $3 million for first place, $2 million for second, and $1 million for third. The America’s Best Communities Award Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 19th at 7:00pm EDT. The awards ceremony will be streamed live and two local businesses will open up as “Grand Prize Party” locations. The Boneyard Grill on Madison’s hilltop and the Red Bicycle Hall downtown will both host watch parties with light snacks, a cash bar, and a live stream of the ceremony on a big screen. Residents are encouraged to come join friends and fellow residents at one of these watch parties; doors will open at 6:30pm and the ceremony will be live streamed beginning at 7:00pm.
“Of course we are excited to get to Denver, share our successes over the last three years, and hopefully return with one of the grand prizes. But, even if we don’t win a grand prize, the America’s Best Communities competition has fostered a pride and unity in the community that has been priceless. It has also laid the foundation for future community and economic development success,” said ABC Team Member Andrew Forrester.
ABC projects over the last three years included: Mulberry Street façade work, Mulberry Streetscape work, Hatcher Hill trail opening, Try the Trail, Madison Moves!, Hike & Hunt, Hike & Hand, Reimagine Mulberry, and Mulberry Street Brunch. Additional work on Hatcher Hill trail will continue this spring and summer, which will include more permanent fencing, signage, and additional amenities like benches and trash cans. Streetscape and façade improvement work continues on Mulberry Street and will continue after the end of the ABC competition. The public is invited to show their support and enthusiasm by being engaged with the ABC facebook page at www.facebook.com/abcmadisonin, or by posting pictures of Madison using the hashtags #ABCMadison and #ABC8.
Out of over 350 that applied, Madison is one of eight communities remaining in the America’s Best Communities competition. Other finalists include:
- Chisago Lakes Area, Minnesota
- Darrington/Arlington, Washington
- Huntington, West Virginia
- Lake Havasu City, Arizona
- Statesboro, Georgia
- Tualatin, Oregon
- Valley County, Idaho
The America’s Best Communities competition is a $10 million prize competition sponsored by Frontier, DISH, The Weather Channel, and CoBank. Madison was named quarterfinalist and winner of $50,000 in early 2015, a semi-finalist in January 2016, and finalist and winner of $100,000 at the America’s Best Communities Summit in April 2016.