Madison’s Main Street rejuvenation project — the proposal to patch and reseal 4.2-miles of highway from Jefferson Street west to the top of Hanover Hill — is scheduled to begin Monday, July 16 and continue through Aug. 16.
Madison Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff Mindy McGee announced the scope and timeline of the work at Tuesday’s meeting of the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety, noting that with repairs impacting so many residents and businesses the city wants to give as much advance notice as possible.
The project is scheduled, weather permitting, to be conducted in two major phases with all milling and patch work done July 12-31 and crack sealing and application of asphalt sealer taking place Aug. 1-20. Each of those phases will be broken down into two smaller phases with work from Jefferson Street to Crooked Creek and back to Jefferson Street done first and work from Crooked Creek to the top of Hanover Hill and back to Crooked Creek done second.
Contractors also will work in four block sections with the north side of Main Street to Crooked Creek scheduled first before the south side is done second.
The project will then resume on the north side of the highway from Crooked Creek to the top of Hanover Hill and finally on the south side of the highway from the hilltop back to Crooked Creek.
McGee said the various phases are designed to provide the safest and quickest plan for finishing the job in a timely fashion, to keep the road at least partially open throughout and impact individual areas for the least amount of time. By working in four block segments, each area should be impacted no more than one day at a time but during work the street will be closed from center line to the curb with no parking allowed so that traffic can be routed to the other side of the street to allow workers to safetly make repairs on the opposite side. There will be flaggers, message boards and assistance by police when needed.
“There will be no road closings but there will be some lane shifting,” said McGee, adding that local residents and businesses owners will be given as much advance notice as possible of when work will begin in their area through posted signage, social media and press releases.
In addition, contractors will follow an extended work day schedule from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday in an effort to finish the project as soon as possible. No work is scheduled to be done on weekend’s and the schedule should allow the project to be completed prior to the city next big festival, the Madison Ribberfest Aug. 20-21.
According to McGee, the work is necessary if the city is to extend the useful life of Main Street until a federal grant becomes available to re-mill and repave the highway in 2026. The rejuvenation has been planned since the city took over the highway — formerly old State Road 56 — from the state last year but continued and advanced deterioration has led to a bigger project than initially anticipated.
McGee said the highway has about 200 badly deteriorated spots that will need patching and many cracks that will need filling before a sealer can be applied to preserve the surface and give it a more new appearance. The work will involve milling off high spots in some cases and cleaning out and refilling holes in others. The entire side of the roadway in some stretches of Hanover Hill have crumbled and will need to be rebuilt.
“The shoulders on Hanover Hill are in really bad shape,” BPWS member Karl Eaglin noted.
“Most of that section is on a concrete base,” McGee said. “That right lane was added later and does not have the concrete base so it is crumbling ... we may need to look at ways to reinforce the right lane.”
“Hanover Hill gets lots more traffic now with dump trucks taken off Main Street,” said BPWS member David Carlow. “A lot more trucks use the top portion of that road now.”
Mayor Bob Courtney said the issue is one of deferred maintenance by the state that has now become the city’s problem. “That road has not bee adequately maintained for at least a decade
Prior to work beginning next week, and throughout the project, the city will post signage in the affected areas noting lane closings and reminders concerning parking. The city will also utilize local media and social media to provide updates on the work.
Of the many Madison Regatta traditions involving fathers and sons and families meeting up in Madison on race weekend, one now includes the son’s new wife joining the fun after Ben and Mary Ringle were married by Mayor Bob Courtney in a brief ceremony during a break in the racing action Sunday on the riverfront.
“This is the first day of their lives together,” said Courtney, noting it’s special that it all began at the Madison Regatta.
The new bride said this weekend was not only her first visit to the Madison Regatta, but also her first time in Indiana but she likes what she’s seen so far.
“It’s awesome, just amazing,” Mary Ringle said of the boat race, a feeling she now shares with new husband, Ben.
“It’s the feeling I get when a boat starts up,” Ben said.
Ben and his father, Mike Ringle, have regularly attended the Madison Regatta together — just as Mike and his father did before that dating back to 1963 — with Mike traveling from his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Ben arriving from Davenport, Iowa. When Ben and Mary decided to get married the race came to mind and it turned out even better than planned.
“We were just going to do it on the grass, and make it simple and small down on the riverfront,” Ben said, adding that Mary thought they might need to ask permission, “and it just snowballed from there.”
The ceremony ended up being held at the Regatta Judge’s Stand — the APBA Gold and Indiana Governor’s cups as backdrops — with music and nuptials all broadcast on the PA system with the Regatta Queens and thousands of spectators as witnesses applauding approval.
Courtney was thrilled to have the opportunity to officiate, noting it was the perfect event to help him just relax and enjoy the Regatta.
Following a year when the Madison Regatta was canceled due to COVID-19, Courtney said this year “has been a massive effort” to make the Madison Regatta happen, and to be part of their wedding is a happy moment that “takes a little pressure off ... I loved being a part of making this happen, and it went off flawlessly.”
Ben hopes to continue attending Madison Regattas moving forward, a family tradition now made even more special a his and Mary’s anniversary. “It’s a family thing, and I want to do this the rest of my life,” he said of the race and being married. “If we could come back every year, it would be really cool.”
“I’m a grandpa now,” says Bobby Robbins, leader of the Young Country, one of Madison’s most popular and successful homegrown bands. “So these days, if it ain’t fun, I’m not doing it.”
“Believe me, we did the grind back in the day. We’d take any gig anywhere. All those fun shows at Coyote’s Bar down in Louisville, and opening for so many great country acts. I don’t regret a minute of it, but I’m also kind of glad I’m past that stage of my musical career.
“I’m doing a lot of two man shows with Ronnie Green these days, we have a great musical chemistry. And if I need the full Young Country band I can just grab Kerry Mefford, Tom Steveley and Danny Cook and we’re back in business.
“We’ve got a few shows in the works this summer, starting with an event called Forever Young at Red Bicycle Hall on July 23. It’s Young Country, Jordan Wilson and SPKR doing all the different genres from the ’90’s. Should be a blast.
“It’s getting to be a 30-year journey now, it’s hard to believe. I got out of the Navy in 1990 and reconnected with my old childhood musical buddy, Ronnie Dunlap. We started playing the Railroad Inn in Carrollton. I remember our light show was one of those old spinning three-color Christmas tree lights, you remember those?
“Anyway, we started coming over to Madison to enjoy the music scene and one night we ran into Ronnie Green playing at the Drake. He coaxed me and Dunlap onto the stage and we sang a Dwight Yoakum tune. That was pretty much the germination of the Young Country band.
“It was Bobby Sampson on bass in those early days, Berry Burrelson on drums. They were all a bunch of long-haired rockers, but we converted them over to country! As the years went by we also had Deano Crafton and Dennis O’Neal on drums. Dennis is one of the best ever.
“Speaking of the best ever, I also love playing with Jimmy Davis whenever I get the chance. I don’t know what it is about his style, but he just makes the songs sound different. I love it.
“These days I just want to do the cool stuff, the music I like to sing and play. It’s not about the money. And I haven’t played with Ronnie Dunlap for over 10 years now, and I thought when he left it that was the end of it. But I discovered that I could grow and adapt and keep going.
“I really miss Ronnie, and I love him, but it’s given me more freedom to do more things vocally.
“I’m also finding, thanks to the rich talent pool in Madison, that it’s been fairly easy to pull together some of these potluck bands on short notice. The guys we have around here are real pros. I just tell them the songs and they go!”
On Sunday at 6:30 p.m., Davy Harmon will be playing at Off Broadway Taproom. This is actually very big news. The return of Sunday music at the Taproom marks the total return of this venerable venue to its pre-pandemic schedule. Once again the Taproom has live music FIVE nights a week (every night except Monday and Wednesday). If you are a fan of quality, original live music, don’t miss the Songwriter in the Round show at Red Bike on Saturday. Greg Foresman and his friends make the magic happen every time.
Sunday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The School of Rock Show Team is made up of some of the most talented and dedicated young musicians from the Louisville area. These are professional-level performers who play far beyond their years. They play a family-friendly setlist of classic rock that ranges from Pink Floyd to Pearl Jam, from the Rolling Stones to Rush — and many other crowd pleasers. These kids put on a great show!
Charlie Rohlfing is a retired advertising man and partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening.
Thursday, July 8
Mad Paddle Brewery — Bomar & Ritter
Off Broadway Taproom — Joe Perkinson & Deano Crafton
Friday, July 9
Lytle Park — Live Lunch (11:30 a.m.)
Riverboat Inn — Joe Perkinson & Deano Crafton
Bicentennial Park — Doctor’s Band
Off Broadway Taproom — Jimmy Davis Band
Saturday, July 10
Mad Paddle Brewery — The Fabulous Hickbillies
Riverboat Inn — Mike Perkinson
Red Bicycle Hall — Songwriter’s in the Round
Thomas Family Winery — Davis & Devitt
Off Broadway Taproom — Erik Brunner
Sunday, July 11
Mad Paddle Brewery — School of Rock Benefit Show (4 p.m.)
Stream Cliff Farm — Gary Applegate & Joe Rock
Off Broadway Taproom — Davy Harmon (7 p.m.)
Tuesday, July 13
Off-Broadway Taproom — Open Mic Night
A decision on a camping area proposed at 4004 North Old State Road 62 in Madison Township — on hold since April — was once again tabled at Tuesday’s meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Zoning Appeals after petitioner Sam Simons informed the board that he would be unable to attend the meeting.
Attorney Rob Barlow was there with John Muessel, who owns nearby property at 3816 North Old State Road 62 and had been at the April County BZA meeting in opposition to the campground.
“There are several neighbors here tonight that would like to see the issue addressed that would have liked to have received more notice about it being tabled,” said Barlow.
The email that Simons had sent earlier in day stated that he had not yet been able to place markers of the cabin locations which had been requested by the BZA.
The BZA felt that in order to be fair it needed to give Simons the chance to state his case, but also feels that matter has lingered for more than three months with no action by Simons. The BZA won’t meet in August, so its next meeting will be in September with two more months available for Simons to provide what the board requested.
The BZA tabled the petition until the Sept. 7 meeting, but added a statement that “at that time, whether or not Mr. Simons has what we’ve requested him to do, a decision will be made.”
In other business, the board,
• Approved a request by Steve and Jennifer Gray, 5431 East Risk Ridge Road, in Shelby Township for a 30-foot x 40-foot pole barn in which they requested a 43-foot setback from the center of the road instead of the required 90 foot, and 20-foot setback from the east side of the property line instead of the required 25 feet. Jennifer Gray noted that the location of the pole barn is due to the lateral line for the septic system. The board approved the variance as it is a lightly traveled area and that the barn fits into the landscape of that area, which is agricultural.
• Approved a request from John DeWeese, 7022 S. Majors Road, in Saluda Township for a 14-foot x 32-foot prebuilt storage shed which needs a 8-feet setback from the south side of the property line instead of the required 25 feet. DeWeese submitted a letter from the adjoining landowner who is OK with the variance. With that the board approved the variance; also noting the building is one that’s suitable for that neighborhood.
Two possible projects that could have a positive impact on southeastern Indiana received support from the Hanover Town Council at its meeting Tuesday.
Kay Stokes, special assistant to the president of Hanover College for accreditation and external relations, told the council about a partnership with Hanover College and Ivy Tech-Madison to establish southern Indiana as a hub for veterinary medicine, bio science and agribusiness. The partners would create a Veterinary Teaching Center, which because of shortages in veterinary services and the high demand, Stokes said would provide an economic impact to the region, along with attracting potential residents and employers.
The program is one that Stokes is proposing to the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority as it competes for part of a $500 million Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) in which regions can be awarded up to $50 million for implementation of their regional development strategies.
Stokes also told about a plan for bike trails that would extend from Madison to Hanover, and then work toward connecting with other trails following the Ohio River to a trail system that includes Clark, Floyd, Washington and Harrison counties.
“Hanover would become a major stop on the regional trail,” Stoke noted.
Hanover Town Council unanimously agreed to adopt letters to be submitted to OurSIRDA in support of both proposals.
In other business:
• Nuisance Officer/Building Inspector Rick Schnebelt introduced a software program that he would like the town to invest in for recording data related to nuisance violations, ordinances and permits. Schnebelt said the program from iWorQ would provide a means for maintaining a database to efficiently organize and access the information.
“It keeps track of everything,” said Schnebelt.
Clerk-treasurer Keith Mefford said the program also would allow town council members to have access to log-in for any information that they would need. “You can create a work order,” he said, for any project that a town council thinks needs to be done.
No action was taken on the proposal other than plans to discuss it again at a future meeting. There would be initial setup costs, along with an annual fee of $2,500.
Schnebelt said he is working toward enforcing the town’s nuisance laws while also encouraging local residents to participate. “We want a clean and positive town,” said Schnebelt, adding the hope is “not to fine a lot, but to get people on board for cleaning the town up.”
He said there are some residents who are challenged to clean up their properties and “we want people to know that we’re really here to help them,” he said.
• Discussed curb replacement on October Street in which Mefford would like to work toward seeking grant funding that would more effectively address the issues there.
“There are drainage issues that we just keep putting off,” said Mefford, who wants to work toward getting funding for that to help resolve the the problem. “If we fix the issues, I think people will think differently about the properties themselves,” he added.
Mefford said if the curb work includes efforts to improve the road drainage, “I think they will be more inclined to invest in their properties.”
• Board member Debbie Kroger asked the town council its thoughts on changing the structure of the county’s cable advisory board in which Kroger is a member.
“We’re struggling,” she said, noting “we’ve missed three meetings because we’ve not had a quorum.” Representatives from Jefferson County, Madison and Hanover have each had three representatives, and Kroger wondered about changing that so there are two representatives from each entity on the board.
Lori Hedges, a member of the cable advisory board who was at the meeting operating a video camera for Jefferson County Community Television, asked for ideas about what content should be included on the channel besides meetings. “We want people to turn it on, and see what our community is all about,” she said.
• Agreed to adopt Northwoods Court and Wooded Court onto Hanover’s street inventory. Mefford noted it’s important for streets to be included in the town’s inventory in order to receive state funding for them, and adopting those streets is part the process they are going through to make sure the town’s street inventory is accurate. “There are some not showing on INDOT’s (Indiana Department of Transportation) map correctly,” he said.
• Received an update on auctions of two town properties that were held in June. The property at 138 Ohio Avenue sold for $17,500 and the property at 132 Maple Street sold for $18,000.
• Approved an ordinance for paying off-duty officers for security during town events at a range from $25 per hour to $35 per hour.
• Heard a request by Erin Thomas of LifeTime Resources for $4,500 funding for 2022, an increase from this year’s budget of $4,100. Thomas said the organization works to provide services that help people maintain their independence. Thomas said LifeTime’s services to Jefferson County are valued at $1.2 million, and noted what the town provides is a match for other resources that the organization receives. “I have been very impressed,” said council member Treva Shelton, noting she has observed the organization’s work in the community. “You guys do a great job,” said board president Kenny Garrett.
• Hanover Clean-up Days will be July 19-25 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for residents within the Hanover town limits. Dumpsters will be available at the Hanover Compost Center. A compost pass, which can be issued at the Hanover Town Hall, is needed when using the service.