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Riverfront Renewal

Wine event brings fun
to Madison, Ind., riverfront

Wine, Stein & Barrel adds craft beer,
bourbon to offerings

(June 2017) – Marci Jones has been digging through boxes of old photos. She wants to show people what Madison, Ind.’s riverfront looked like 30, 40 or 50 years ago before the Riverfront Development Committee started its work. It was not an inviting place to visit; rather, a place to be avoided.
“I’m trying to make people understand what it was like then,” she said.



• June 17 at the Madison, Ind., riverfront. Presented by the Madison Riverfront Development Committee
• Hours: 6-10 p.m.
• Highlights: Featuring wine, craft beer, bourbon, live and silent art auction, live music
• Tickets: $35 per person or $60 per couple at the gate

• Information: (812) 265-2956 or 1-800-599-8474 or go to: www.VisitMadison.org

People have moved to town and don’t know what the riverfront used to be, she said. Others have forgotten that the area used to be a tired, but still post-industrial riverfront, where iron and blocks of salt and other items were stored in a haphazard manner.
Moreover, there was no good place to walk, sit down or congregate.
After looking through hundreds of photos, Jones chose the best and had them enlarged. She put together a display for the fourth annual Riverfront Wine, Stein and Barrel event, set for June 17.
This event is the only fundraiser of the year for the Riverfront Development Committee, the group that envisioned what the riverfront is today. They are the ones responsible for the sidewalks, benches, flowers, gazebo, overlooks and all the special touches that beautify Madison’s riverfront.
The Wine, Stein and Barrel event is held to raise money to help upgrade and improve the riverfront. The photos will show just what the committee has accomplished since 1986 when the committee was created.
The elegant event will be held under a tent at the gazebo, located at the foot of Poplar Street and Vaughn Drive on the riverfront. It promises to be a festive one, Jones said.
“We’re shooting for 350 people this year,” Jones said. A wide variety of vintage wines, styles of craft beers and bourbons or whiskeys will be offered. Hours are 6-10 p.m.
Brook Reindollar and his Traveling Minstrals will provide music. Three artists will participate in the event – Debi Black, Tyler Emery and Pedra Sage. Black will encourage everyone at the event to participate in a community painting, which then will be auctioned at the end of the event. Emery does spray paint art. Sage will sketch portraits of people at the event. There will be silent and live auctions with items now being donated.

Photo by Patti Watson

Proceeds from the annual Wine, Stein & Barrel event are used to continue improvements and expansion of Madison’s riverfront. The event is held in a tent by the riverfront gazebo, pictured above.

Tickets are $35 per person or $60 for a couple. Tables for 10 are available for $250 but must be reserved by June 9. Reservations may be made by calling Jones at (812) 265-2956 or Chris Bilz at (812) 599-8474. Tickets for Wine, Stein and Barrel can be purchased online (with a $1 handling fee) at www.VisitMadison.org or at the Lanier-Mansion Gift Shop at the Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. Tickets also may be purchased on a walk-in basis.
In the past year, the Riverfront Development Committee has made significant progress. On June 3, the committee will present a check for $30,000 to the Hargan-Matthews Park, according to LuAnn Waller, secretary of the committee. She said the committee was one of the initial contributors to the park located on the riverfront.
On June 5, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned at 5:30 p.m. at the boat ramp by the Madison Regatta viewing stand, according to Waller. This is to celebrate the completion of a $230,000 project to make repairs to the boat ramp. The repairs were done as a joint effort through a matching grant from the state, city and the riverfront committee, according to John Bruns, committee member. Madison Mayor Damon Welch, Community Relations Manager Andrew Forrester, committee chairman Jim Pruett and most members of the riverfront committee are expected to attend.
In addition, work has been completed on a new boat dock with a pump-out station, Waller said. This was an $83,000 project also accomplished through the matching grant from the state, city and the riverfront committee.
Several years ago, a bank stabilization project was done beside the gazebo. This meant that shrubs and some of the sidewalk had to be removed, Waller said. The bank was stabilized, but orange fencing was left behind. In order to improve the safety and attractiveness of this area, new wrought iron fencing and 19 columns were installed by the city and the riverfront committee.

Bruns said that riverfront development still is seeking grant funds for extension of the sidewalk from its current end, just east of the Milton-Madison Bridge, to the campground. The river walk has been built in stages. When completed, it will link the Heritage Trail to the west to the Madison City Campground, just east of the bridge.

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