Madison’s two-year run to the finalist stage of the America’s Best Communities competition came to an end tonight at the ABC Grand Prize Award Ceremony in Denver, Colorado with Madison not receiving one of the top three grand prizes.
First place went to Huntington, West Virginia, second place went to Lake Havasu, Arizona, and third place went to Statesboro, Georgia.
Representatives of Madison in attendance in Denver included ABC Team members Valecia Crisafulli, Lindsay Bloos, Andrew Forrester, Jim Olson, and Mayor Damon Welch.
The prize ceremony concluded a day full of presentations from all finalist communities, with Valecia, Lindsay, and Andrew providing the presentation for Madison.
“While we are disappointed in the ultimate outcome, we walk away proud of what we accomplished in the competition the last two years.
We have shown we’re one of America’s Best Communities and we’re so grateful to every community member and organization who played a part in our projects; we never would have gotten here without you. ” said Mayor Damon Welch.
Madison’s ABC efforts centered around the “Madison Connector,” which included reopening Hatcher Hill road as a bicycle and pedestrian trail and reinvigorating Mulberry Street.
Hatcher Hill opened last October with improvements happening incrementally the last few months, while the Mulberry Street façade grant program made possible through ABC and a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs is just now getting to the visible phase.
“We have been able to do so much through this competition on Hatcher Hill, Mulberry St, and with Madison Moves!
The ABC competition has laid the foundation for future success in our community, and I know we will build on it.
Even without winning a grand prize, we come home winners…because we come home to Madison!” said Madison Chamber of Commerce Director Lindsay Bloos.
Efforts to continue the work that was started through America’s Best Communities will continue, despite not winning the final prize tonight.
The Madison ABC team already has a meeting scheduled Monday to discuss how to move forward on the Madison Connector trail as well as the work on Mulberry Street.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed. We thought we had a great shot to win. We had so many people back home who had put in a lot of effort and were watching and cheering us on. But, ultimately we know our plan and Madison’s success doesn’t depend on winning the America’s Best Communities competition. We are going to move forward, especially with our pursuit of Stellar Communities and other opportunities to improve our community, even if it means our timetable is longer.
Ultimately, we are proud to live in Madison, we know it’s one of America’s best, and we’re going to keep working with the whole community to make it better,” said ABC team member Andrew Forrester.
Hundreds attended local “Prize Parties” at Boneyard Grill and the Red Bicycle Hall to watch the announcement live. “Watching the video and photos from the watch parties back home was so encouraging…and we’re grateful to our community for their support. We met some amazing communities through this process and learned a lot from them that we can bring back and implement.
This has truly been a win-win for all involved!” said Envision Coordinator Valecia Crisafulli.
The America’s Best Communities competition was a multi-year competition with over $10million in prizes.
Madison was one of eight finalists and won $50,000 at the quarterfinals stage in May 2015 and then won $100,000 at the ABC Summit in Durham, North Carolina in April 2016.