To Do List

To Do List

Our new mayor Tim Armstrong has been in office for three and one-half months now, and seems to be settling in reasonably well, with no major missteps. I’m sure he and his staff have a detailed agenda — in the good sense of that term — for things they want to achieve in office. But in just traveling around Madison I’ve noticed a number of highly visible things I think they should place high on their to-do list, if they haven’t already.

And it’s not just me that has noticed these things, either, because I’ve heard other people mention them. So some of this comes not just from this humble scribe, Mr. Mayor, but from your constituents.

1. The Main Street parking lot at Main and Poplar is a highly visible aspect of the downtown. And it looks very weatherbeaten. There are large cracks and potholes in the surface of the lot, and also — the most visible of all — the brick and concrete posts and the metal fencing connecting them on the front of it are in sad shape. One post is completely gone; I was the person who spotted it, knocked over and demolished, some months ago, and reported it to the police. At least two sections of the fencing are missing; the tops of the spikes are broken off in other places. The parking lot is a mess, and is in need of a big overhaul. Doing something about the public restrooms in the lot would be a good idea, too. If they’re no longer needed because of the comfort station across the street, shouldn’t they be removed?

2. Next door to the Lodge apartment building and the Madison Coffee & Tea business at Main and West streets is a building which has huge piles of odds and ends filling its entire ground floor, right to the front windows. There has been no business operating on the ground floor for a long time. It is an eyesore to passers-by, but more important than that, couldn’t such a condition be considered a fire hazard, with a large building containing occupied apartments right next door? Can’t the city building inspector have a talk with the owner of the building with the clutter?

3. The same condition exists at the old Hammack’s Superette building on the far west end of Main Street, beyond the railroad bridge. It is also filled to the front windows with a multitude of items, and in addition the exterior is in very poor repair. It’s another eyesore, in my opinion and that of others I’ve talked to, and also could be considered a fire hazard. Another visit from the building inspector might be necessary here.

4. The former bottleneck on Ivy Tech Drive between the Wal-Mart and Lowe’s buildings and Riverpointe Shopping Center was finally improved tremendously by the previous administration with the addition of the new entrance to Wal-Mart and the widening of Ivy Tech. Now, it seems to me that the portion of the Riverpointe lot used by many as a bypass from Ivy Tech to Demaree Drive beside Staples, Bob Evans and J.D. Byrider, and vice versa, needs some attention, too. Heavy use and the winter weather have left many potholes and cracks, not only in the bypass area but also in the lot as a whole. It is privately owned, but it seems to me that the city should take the responsibility of consulting with the owner about improvement of parts that have become a de facto public thoroughfare.

5. Finally, I’ll address something I brought up at Mayor Armstrong’s first council meeting. That was probably unfair on my part, as he hadn’t even had time to get his feet wet in his new office yet. But that was three and one-half months ago.

When Madison and Jefferson County had a chance to vote in a referendum on whether a riverboat gambling operation would be allowed here, in 1994, it was turned down overwhelmingly. “A local newspaper,” some of the preachers, and some of the industrialists in the community had managed to persuade the voters that a riverboat operation would float in here with Satan in the pilot house, on a tide of prostitutes, drunks, and gambling-induced bankruptcies.

Well, that hasn’t happened in Florence, Rising Sun or Lawrenceburg, which have prospered considerably from their riverboats. Indiana law permits another referendum if local officials will authorize one. The county has to do that, but the city administration could consult with county officials. Even though no license is available right now, if one should become so, shouldn’t Jefferson County at least have a chance at it? I think a lot of us hope that Mayor Armstrong will think about that possibility. It could mean some significant economic benefits for this community. And we could certainly use it.

Old Corporal <corporalko@yahoo.com>

To-do list for mayor, – Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 17:15:29 (EDT)

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