Madison, Indiana Reaches “America’s Best Communities” Finals, Finishes Just Short of Top Prizes

Posted On April 19, 2017

DENVER, Colo.; April 19, 2017—While it fell just short of the top prizes, Madison, Indiana will forever be considered one of America’s Best Communities.


Madison earned $150,000 in prize grants from America’s Best Communities, a $10 million community revitalization competition sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel, since the campaign was launched in September 2014. About 350 communities entered the competition, and Madison was one of just eight teams that advanced to the final round.


Created to inspire revitalization and growth in small towns and rural communities across the country, America’s Best Communities challenged local leaders to bring their neighbors together to envision a stronger future and build a strategy to improve lives and livelihoods. It has served as a catalyst for positive change by awarding seed funding to help communities turn their exceptional ideas from vision to reality.


From the original pool of about 350 communities, the field was narrowed to 50 in the quarterfinals, 15 in the semifinals and down eight finalists. Communities advanced in the competition based on the effectiveness of the revitalization plans developed, fine-tuned and implemented over the course of the three-year competition.


Throughout the competition, from its start through the grand prize round, an independent panel of expert judges reviewed and scored communities’ proposals based on an objective set of criteria. Their scoring and independent analysis determined winners.


The eight finalists gathered this week in Denver, Colorado, the home of sponsoring companies DISH Network and CoBank, to present their revitalization strategies and share progress made in achieving new growth. Following the presentations, the top three were announced during the America’s Best Communities Grand Prize Ceremony.


Huntington, West Virginia; Lake Havasu City, Arizona; and Statesboro, Georgia finished as the competition’s top three, respectively.


“It has been such an honor to invest in your community and get to know you, your revitalization plans and your vast potential to become a shining example of innovation and sustained growth for small towns and cities across the country. You truly are one of America’s Best Communities,” said Maggie Wilderotter, former CEO of Frontier Communications. “We cannot thank you enough for the hard work and brilliant ideas you shared throughout this competition. The solutions and strategies you developed with America’s Best Communities will live on and continue to inspire rural communities seeking their own revitalization for years to come.”


Madison’s revitalization plan focuses on connectivity in the community. It aims to connect its historic downtown and its hilltop area — which are separated by a 400-footbluff — with the Madison Connector, a multipurpose trail to help fuel economic activity and enhance quality of life throughout the city. As a result of the America’s Best Communities competition, Madison has reopened a formerly abandoned road and repurposed it as the Hatcher Hill Trail, and it has jumpstarted its efforts to revitalize a key commercial corridor, Mulberry Street, to enhance the connection between the new trail and its mile-long riverfront.


The eight finalist communities that gathered in Denver for the grand prize event included:

  • Chisago Lakes, Minnesota
  • Darrington/Arlington, Washington
  • Huntington, West Virginia
  • Lake Havasu City, Arizona
  • Madison, Indiana
  • Statesboro, Georgia
  • Tualatin, Oregon
  • Valley County, Idaho


By crowdsourcing new ideas to revitalize rural America, the campaign has helped identify innovative solutions that can serve as roadmaps to economic revival for other small and medium-sized communities across the U.S. The competition’s organizers are encouraging local leaders across the country to view the communities’ revitalization plans, which are available publicly at the America’s Best Communities website.


For more on the competition, visit www.americasbestcommunities.com.