Downtown Madison renovations under; city leaders excited - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Downtown Madison renovations under; city leaders excited

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Business owners along Madison's Main Street offered no complaints over the barricades blocking the sidewalks as a week of work renovating Main Street wrapped up.

"Everybody down here, it seems to be in conversations with them, is terrifically excited about the renovation of downtown," said Larry Anderson, owner of Bandito Burrito on Main Street, right in the middle of the reconstruction work.

The $1.19 million Phase II renovation of Main Street tackles the center of historic Madison, redoing the streets and sidewalks, relandscaping, moving utilities underground and adding flourishes to accent the city's history and rejuvenate an area that had fallen into disrepair.  

"As we grew, like most cities, we grew away from our downtown," said Madison Mayor Troy Trulock.  "And at some point our leadership in town said ‘let's go back and fix our downtown.' This our historic area, we want to revitalize it and we want to bring businesses back downtown."

For bringing in businesses, the city looks in part to the private sector and property owners like Larry Anderson, whose family owns two dilapidated buildings at the end of Main Street. One is soon to be the home for a new establishment, the Old Black Bear Brewery, projected to open by this fall. The other, a prominent 2-story brick building remains vacant, but Anderson said commercial interest in Madison's downtown has been picking up.                

"As this goes on," he said, "there's been considerable interest from people, some that we have not seen before."

Trulock said he hoped to see the improved Madison downtown develop into a thriving entertainment area much like the district Huntsville has sought to cultivate.

"A food and entertainment specialty shop area," said Anderson, "a place for people to come and walk and enjoy what's down here and probably will expand into the next street, and several over."

Phase II of Madison's downtown renovation was scheduled to be completed by late summer or early fall.

Phase III, covering an area north of the train tracks, was scheduled to begin in summer of 2015.

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