2007 Dorothy Inglis Reindollar Award

Historic Madison Inc. honors Flint
for work on two properties

He restored former
Lodge Furniture, Madison High School

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(November 2007) – At the tender age of 5, Deputy, Ind., resident Mike Flint would follow his father, Gerald, around the old buildings he worked on and learned the tricks of the restoration trade. It was then that the younger Flint developed a passion for historic preservation from his father, an electrician who specialized in such historic work.
That passion was rewarded Oct. 19 when Flint was awarded the 2007 Dorothy Inglis Reindollar Preservation Award by Historic Madison, Inc. He received the award for his rehabilitation efforts at the old Madison High School on Broadway and the former Lodge Furniture Building that now houses his Madison Coffee & Tea on Main Street and several upstairs apartments.

Mike Flint

Mike Flint

The Preservation Award is designed to recognize exemplary preservation or restoration accomplishments occurring within Madison and Jefferson County. Ideally, the award recognizes a person or entity that has made overall outstanding contribution to the community embracing preservation techniques over a period of time that result in making the community a better place to live, work, play and raise a family.
Heidi Valco, HMI’s director of programming, said each year the organization gets a handful of nominations for the award, and it is a tough process to choose the winner. Flint joins an impressive list of winners that include John and Donn Campbell, who won last year for their work on numerous buildings throughout Madison, and Jae Breitweiser, who won the award in 2005 for her work at historic Eleutherian College.
Flint grew up in Madison and attended Indiana University, where he received a degree in political science. He then spent a decade in Washington D.C., where he worked for various members of Congress. It was during this time that he became interested in infrastructure development.
He left Washington and spent several years in Louisville, Ky., where he formed the Flint Group, a consulting firm that helps communities and authorities with funding for infrastructure.

Recipients of HMI's Dorothy Inglis
Reindollar Preservation Award

2007: Mike Flint, Madison Coffee & Tea; Rivertrace Apartments
2006: John and Donn Campbell preservation efforts in Madison
2005: Jae Breitweiser, Eleutherian College
2004: Robert Maile, preservation efforts in Madison
2003: John E. Galvin, retiring HMI director
2002: John Staicer, Schroeder Saddletree Factory
2001: Christ Episcopal Church, restoration of windows
2000: Establishment of Reindollar Preservation Award

“I looked at historic preservation as a side opportunity,” said Flint, 42.
However, when he saw no one working toward the renovation of the old high school on Broadway, he decided to do it. “From my previous experience, I saw good reuse potential for the building to be developed.”
The project resulted in the Rivertrace Apartments, a 33-unit affordable dwelling for persons 55 years or older and persons with disabilities. “We took a vacant building that was off the tax role, turned it into housing for 43 people and put it back on the tax role,” said Flint. “All of those people shop, work, dine and relax in downtown Madison.”
After developing the apartment, Flint saw a prospect in the old Lodge Building on Main Street that would augment the apartments. “I saw the opportunity for an oasis that would compliment the area,” he said.
It was then he decided to open his Madison Coffee & Tea shop, which has become a busy attraction along Main Street.
He said every two to three years he re-evaluates his projects and looks at ways to improve them. He is also developing a model for his next redevelopment project that will incorporate multiple buildings and maximize all floors and levels of those buildings.
“I am currently forming an idea for re-use that would be different than ordinary retail and regular use,” he said.
Flint is dedicated to his work in preservation and is particularly focused on the desperate need for infrastructure upgrading in older buildings and communities. “Infrastructure upgrading is critical and crucial for communities; however, many of these types of projects are simply overlooked for more visible improvements or projects.”
One example he gave of such infrastructure upgrading was to add broadband Internet access throughout the city. Apparently, many downtown areas in rural communities and smaller cities are upgrading their telecommunications networks to accommodate high speed broadband Internet access. They are then using that access as an amenity to attract global businesses that rely on high-speed connectivity and could operate anywhere in the world with it.
“We have many upper levels in historic buildings that could be restored to then house these new companies,” he said. “We wouldn’t have to offer huge deals for companies to build new buildings to set up shop, and we wouldn’t have to compete with other communities for those businesses.”
Flint said he was honored and humbled by the HMI award. He remembers taking tours of the historic HMI sites when he was in elementary school, and that was how his interest was peaked.
“I was the last kid to leave, and then I would go back after school and wear them out,” he said. “Who knows who might be that next kid?”

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