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City seeks experts for downtown development plan

By By Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
With efforts to restore and revitalize downtown Madison under way, the Madison City Council has sought the advice of Auburn University experts to help in the development of a master plan for the historic area.
Cheryl Morgan of the Auburn University Center for Architecture and Urban Studies came before the city council with comments as to what the center can do to help Madison in this effort. Morgan said the center has worked with several Alabama communities – including Russellville, Haleyville and Hoover-in creating a downtown revitalization plan and added that a plan can be done for Madison.
"Madison is very special in that you've got a growing community all around you, and yet the downtown area remains as lovely and charming as ever. It is very unique, authentic and distinctive," Morgan said. "Our job at Auburn is to assist communities in advancing the highest qualities of life to that community."
Morgan said there is a process the center goes through when working with a community in developing a master plan.
"First, we listen to the residents of the community and we get a feel for what they like and what they would like to see – they live here and they should be involved," Morgan said. "Then, we make recommendations while the master plan is being developed to ensure good, planned prosperity."
Morgan said the next step is making sure the plan becomes a living and breathing entity to serve the entire community.
"We publish our ideas in the form of a poster and we develop a plan to seek funds to make it happen," Morgan said. "It takes about three months or so to come up with ways to get the overall master plan rolling."
The city council committed to investing $3,000 to jump-start the downtown master plan.

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