Bridge Project Payoff

Following the money reveals
assortment of priorities

February 2014
Edition Cover

(February 2014) – When the environmental document was approved for the Milton-Madison Bridge Replacement Project, the project team committed $365,000 in “mitigation funds” to Madison, Ind., and another $40,000 to Milton, Ky. The money was to help offset the negative economic impact anticipated to both communities during the impending year-long shutdown of the bridge during construction.
The money also was awarded because of anticipated negative impact to Madison’s National Historic Landmark District and other historic areas in downtown Madison and Milton.
But later, when the contract was awarded to Walsh Construction Co. and its partners, its innovative plan called for sliding the new bridge span into place in the final phase of the project and had only 10 total closure days. This enabled the bridge to remain open to traffic, although there would still be restrictions on size and weight of trucks during construction. There would also be no need for a ferry service during an anticipated two-year shutdown.
Together, the Federal Highway Administration, the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet concurred there would still be negative economic impacts to the two communities, even with the bridge closure limited to 10 days.

Photo by Don Ward

The Madison riverfront became a construction site over the past three years as Walsh Construction moved in to replace the 83-year-old Milton-Madison Bridge. The new bridge, is scheduled to be slid into its permanent place atop the existing, refurbished concrete piers in late February or March. The project is projected to be complete in May or June. When finished, the riverfront assets will be rebuilt, according to the construction contract. This includes Jaycee Park and the riverwalk in Madison and the Milton boat ramp.

When the original “Memorandum of Agreement,” or MOA, was modified to reflect the bridge slide and reducing the closure time to 10 days, all parties agreed that the mitigation money should stay as included in the original agreement. As a result, funds that would have otherwise been nonexistent allowed Madison to complete many goals and projects to enhance local business, boost tourism activities and fund several marketing studies and a new logo design for the city.
The agreement specified that the bridge mitigation money had to be spent within six months following the completion date of the bridge construction project. By “completion,” the bridge must be open to traffic in its permanent position and the pedestrian walkway installed and open to pedestrian crossing. With the numerous delays in the project due to adverse weather conditions and flooding, the completion date is now projected to be sometime in May 2014, according to bridge team officials. The bridge “slide” has been postponed several times and is now projected to take place in late February or March.
Soon after it was determined that the bridge mitigation money would still be provided, a “Bridge Mitigation Committee” was formed in Madison to manage this large sum of money and divide it among various causes. Jan Vetrhus headed this committee under the previous mayoral administration of Tim Armstrong. It included representatives from a broad base of local groups, such as historic preservation, tourism and riverfront development. When Damon Welch took office as mayor in January 2012, his Community Relations Manager Andrew Forrester took over as the committee head. Vetrhus continued to serve on the committee by representing the Cornerstone Society.


Photo courtesy of Debbie Crawford

Walsh Construction already
has built the first of two picnic shelters to go up at Jaycee Park
on the Madison riverfront.

Since that time, many of the projects funded by bridge mitigation money have been completed. The new logo was unveiled at the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner in January 2012. Way-faring signs, entry signs and trolley stop-historical markers have been designed, built and erected throughout the community. Most recently, a walking tour brochure template has been created that will allow any group to generate its own walking tour on just about any subject and by using a uniform brochure design. Many other initiatives are in progress.
Here’s a brief rundown on some of the Madison initiatives that have been funded from the “bridge money” (see corresponding chart, Page 18).
• Logo and Tagline: A sum of $30,500 was budgeted for tourism marketing studies and the development of a city logo, which was created by RLR & Associates of Indianapolis.
• Marketing and P.R.: A sum of $24,600 was budgeted for marketing and public relations. A marketing plan for the city of Madison was created by consultant Hirons Inc. of Indianapolis.
• Advertising: VisitMadison Inc., the local tourism bureau, managed this $50,000 budget that was used advertising. Most of this money ($39,000) was spent in regional, state and national magazines to promote Madison.
• Brand Implementation: $25,000 was budgeted to implement the new “brand” for Madison. Last fall, the bulk of this money – $17,523 – was used to hire a publicist to write press releases promoting Madison to the media. The rest of the money was used to pay local vendors to create signs and banners for Main Street.


Photo by Don Ward

The Walsh Construction trailers sit on the Jaycee Park Playground and basketball court. Once the trailers are removed, the playground and fencing for the basketball court will be replaced by Walsh, per the construction contract.

• New Signage: A sum of $40,000 was budgeted for new signage in the city and county. Nearly all of this money was paid to Tim Harmon of Timbers Custom Signs in Hanover to rehab or create various signs. This funded new purple-and-orange “way-faring signs for $8,000 by rehabbing existing signs; creating 15 new trolley stop historical markers for $10,000 in mitigation dollars (plus additional contributions by Trilogy Health and King’s Daughters’ Health); and $7,790 to fund rehabbing two existing “gateway” signs and creating two new “gateway” signs into the city.
Two existing gateway signs were recently rehabbed and re-posted entering Madison from the north on Hwy. 421 and Hwy. 7. A third one is being rehabbed to be replaced at the intersection of Hwys. 56 & 62. A fourth new sign will be erected after the bridge project is complete on the eastern side of town entering on Hwy. 56 from Vevay. Paul Boldery was hired to do the masonry on the gateway signs.
• Heritage Tourism: A sum of $15,000 was budgeted for Heritage Tourism. A sum of $5,000 was paid to the National Park Service to help develop a travel itinerary website to include Madison tourism attractions. Some of the money has been used for children’s activity booklets and logo magnets, along with $650 for a graphics designer to design the walking tour brochure template. A total of $4,864 remains in this budget. If no other projects are proposed, remaining money will be used to print additional walking tour brochures from the template.
• Madison Main Street Program: This budget of $40,000 was used for a variety of purposes. A new director, Whitney Wyatt, was hired to direct Main Street from this account. This amounted to $46,672 in administrative salary over three years. Another $9,950 was paid to Ball State University in 2011 when its urban design students conducted a survey and community visioning study of downtown Madison. Another $650 was used for business seminars organized by the Main Street Program. Bicycle racks are being fabricated at the Madison Consolidated High School industrial arts class at a cost of $400 in hopes they can be installed this spring.
That leaves $20,000 remaining to be spent. This money is earmarked for additional business seminars this spring ($2,350), plus the creation of four new information kiosks to be erected throughout the downtown at a cost of $14,000. These kiosks will provide a city map and poster of activities by season enclosed in a case that can be interchanged throughout the year. Southwestern High School graduate Rebecca White designed the poster ($3,650). The framework for the kiosks is being created by Harmon. The first one is expected to go up sometime this spring. The kiosk locations are Main and Jefferson streets; near the riverfront restrooms at Bicentennial Park; at Mill and Main streets; and at either the Comfort Station or Gazebo on Main Street.


Photo courtesy of Andrew Forrester

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs. The City of Madison spent several thousand dollars on various signs with its Milton-Madison Bridge Mitigation money. These include four “gateway signs (one pictured above on Hwy. 7), 15 trolley stop historical markers and several purple-and-orange tourism directional signs.

• “Buy Local:” A sum of $12,000 was used for a “Buy Local” campaign. This money also funded business seminars, workshops and some local advertising of Main Street initiatives. Another $500 will be used to pay half the cost of  “informational packets” to promote the city. The city and Madison Area Chamber of Commerce are sharing the other half of this $1,000 effort. That leaves $1,770 remaining. Discussion of what to do with this money took place at the Jan. 9 meeting of the Bridge Mitigation Committee, but no decision was reached.
• Contingencies: A contingency fund of $7,900 was used to pay Ball State an additional $1,400 for its services, while $3,000 was paid to a company called Synchronist for software that the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce purchased to track retail sales similar to the software they have for tracking industrial businesses. Part of the $3,496 remaining will be used to cover the $1,076 overexpenditure that was budgeted to pay for the logo and tagline development. The remaining contingency balance is $2,423.
• Historic Preservation Planner: A salary of $80,000 over two years was budgeted to hire a Historic Preservation Manager for the city of Madison. Camille Fife was hired and held this position, which expired in April 2013.
• A total of $7,500 was paid for the Madison Regatta course survey in 2012 when the Unlimited hydroplane race course had to be shortened because of the ongoing bridge construction. But this amount was later reimbursed by the state of Indiana and was not technically part of the mitigation expenditures, according to Forrester.


Photos by Don Ward

Using its bridge mitigation money, the City of Madison plans to install four “informational kiosks” in the downtown this spring. The poster and calendar information will be housed in a protective case and can be updated by season.

• In Milton, meanwhile, city officials used their $40,000 for new “gateway” signs, a tourism brochure, a new Internet website and to help pay for new permanent restrooms and at the city boat ramp, according to Mayor Denny Jackson.
The KYTC entered into an agreement with the City of Milton in January 2010 as part of the mitigation efforts there, according to Andrea Clifford, KYTC spokeswoman. Part of this agreement states that KYTC will fund up to $25,000 to build restrooms at the Milton boat ramp. The city will need to hire a contractor to build the restrooms and then submit invoices to the KYTC for reimbursement. Walsh will pave the boat ramp upon completion of the bridge project.
The new gateway signs, at a cost of $16,600, will go up on Hwy. 36 entering the town from Carrollton and another one on Hwy. 421 near the Milton Elementary School. A third smaller sign will go up near the bridge in Milton. The city hired Harmon of Timbers Custom Signs to create them. The tourism brochure has been printed and distributed. Construction of the restrooms should take place sometime this spring, Jackson said.
“It is a very complex system but the money has allowed us to do many things that we would otherwise not be able to afford,” Forrester said. He said he hopes to wrap up all the mitigation expenditures from his committee by March 1.
Vetrhus noted that “the fund was created with all kinds of restrictions and oversight in place so that the money spent is very controlled. I’m pleased with the way the process was handled, and it included input from many people in the community.”

Back to the Milton-Madison Bridge Article Archive.



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