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Madison second baseman Mitchell Cammack reels in an infield fly ball during the Cubs’ 15-0 rout of Greensburg on Tuesday.

Madison Redevelopment told housing next big priority
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With plans underway to construct 183 housing units at the Residences at Sunrise Crossing, Madison Mayor Bob Courtney told the city’s Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday that Madison hilltop project is just the beginning of a greater focus on housing development in the city.

Courtney estimated that Madison is currently working on 20 projects — ranging from parks to roads to infrastructure — but he expects the city’s priorities will shift away from project management later this year and more toward housing development.

“Our focus for the next several years is really going to be housing development. That is the one thing holding our community back now,” Courtney said. “It’s been over 25 years since there’s been any meaningful investment in housing in our community, and we are positioned for growth sans the housing.”

That focus is currently on the Residences at Sunrise Crossing but the future will include “looking across the city of Madison and Jefferson County to see where we can partner to develop more housing.”

Tony Steinhardt III, the city’s economic development director, said housing is an issue that’s challenging local employers as they seek to hire new workers. He cited a recent Leadership Jefferson County meeting in which “housing was a top priority for every organization” that participated. “We certainly know that housing continues to be in tight supply here.”

Steinhardt said legislation is currently being considered by the Indiana General Assembly “to help communities of our size to tackle that in creative ways.” One possibility is House Bill 1005 that would allow local governments to apply for money to help pay for infrastructure costs with new housing such as streets, sidewalks and utilities.

“We have had conversations with developers, and we’ve had some interest in some unique things in the community, although interest rates and the economy has sort of slowed that discussion down in last four or five months,” said Steinhardt.

“Hopefully, with new tools that the state will come around with” if they get through the Indiana General Assembly, “we can bring that conversation back to the forefront by mid-summer,” Steinhardt added.

One affordable housing project is already in the works at Habitat for Humanity’s new Clifty Woods neighborhood where there will be a groundbreaking on Thursday, April 20. The Redevelopment Commission committed $150,000 to provide the infrastructure necessary to create building lots for the subdivision. Besides being near three other Habitat homes on Green Road, the subdivision is also in close proximity to the Habitat’s Restore property on Lanier Drive. The city’s infrastructure work on the subdivision will include streets, curbs, storm sewers and other utilities to develop six homes on a cul-de-sac.

At its meeting in March, the Redevelopment Commission approved a resolution to take the first step toward creating a new City of Madison Riverfront Allocation TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district. The new TIF district would remove the riverfront parcels from the North Madison Economic Development Allocation Area, to create a new TIF area.

Steinhardt said Reedy Financial Group, the city’s financial consultant, recommended that the decrement analysis be done to look at parcels throughout North Madison allocation area and their value. “They believe that going through that process does make financial sense for the commission, and will increase our revenue by doing that,” he said.

Work will take place on that over the next month, with the new TIF district to go before the city’s Plan Commission and City Council for consideration in June, which both must give approval for the proposal to move forward.

In other discussions, Steinhardt updated that development of the new Culver’s restaurant on property at Clifty and Franks drives is expected to move forward soon. “We are waiting for the final agreement with Culver’s in their real estate signing before we execute the agreement on the construction,” he said.

HMI now has detailed study of Sullivan House
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A first-ever, in-depth study of the historic Judge Jeremiah Sullivan House is now complete, preparing Historic Madison Inc. to determine future restoration of the property, HMI President John Staicer announced at Wednesday’s annual meeting.

Meeting at HMI’s historic Shrewsbury-Windle House, Staicer said the 700-page historic structures report provides a full-scale architectural historical and engineering study of the circa 1818 house where Jeremiah Sullivan and his family lived for more than 70 years.

“Since we just received the report, it will take us some time to digest all the findings,” said Staicer, noting that until that’s done he can’t say what restoration work might eventually be pursued at the local historic site.

The study was funded by grants from the Jeffris Family Foundation, the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County, the Morgan Family Fund and anonymous donors. “The goal of the study was to gather every bit of information about the house, its condition and its history into one living document to help guide the future development and use” of the Jeremiah Sullivan House.

The house, purchased at auction in December 1960 by HMI, is recognized nationally for its architectural design and preservation. The Sullivan family and its descendants have played important roles in local, state and American history. Jeremiah Sullivan, who was an Indiana Supreme Court Justice, is credited with suggesting Indianapolis as the name for Indiana’s capital city. One son, Jeremiah Jr., was a Union general during the Civil War. Algernon, another son, founded Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City, which today one of the world’s leading law firms.

“Architects, engineers and historic paint analysts spent many months researching and exploring through every nook and cranny of the property looking for clues about its original construction made by the Sullivans and later owners during its 200-plus-year history,” Staicer said.

Staicer said the study determined the home was built all at one time but the northern portion was demolished in the 1870s or 1880s. He said there appears to have been little or no wallpaper in the years the Sullivans lived in the house. “Apparently they applied coats of whitewash year after year to keep the house painted,” he said.

A new custom copper roof was installed on the Sullivan House in the past year to replace a leaking 1962 roof along with new gutters, Stacier said.

Meanwhile, Staicer reported the Schroeder Saddletree Factory Museum reopened last year after repairs were completed from damage caused by flash flooding in 2021. He said the factory museum features newly updated exhibits that include in-house design, construction and installation with the assistance from a Schroeder Foundation grant. A free virtual reality tour has also been created of the saddletree factory.

HMI also partnered with last summer’s inauguaral Madison Wild West Rodeo, which Staicer said is an obvious connection. “The Scroeders made over 300,000 frames for riding saddles, and undoubtedly some early rodeo cowboys used saddles” that were made at the Saddletree Factory.

Staicer also noted that HMI had donated the large lot on Poplar Street, south of First Street, to the city of Madison to assist with ongoing riverfront development improvements. The property, which was once the location for a planing mill and a button factory, had only remains of the foundation from th 1850s building after a fire at Birl Hill’s boat shop in the 1950s.

He also said that community volunteers led tours for more than 6,000 visitors through HMI properties during special programs and regular toursin 2022. Volunteers also gave free architectural walking tours, researched, sorted and cataloged artifacts.

Tony Steinhardt III was elected to the HMI board of directors and in the board meeting after the annual meeting, the following officers were elected to one year terms — Kevin Yancey, chairman; Staicer, president; Lisa Cutshall, vice president; John Muessel, treasurer; and Jill Wiest, secretary.

Staicer said HMI’s youth programs are returning this year after being discontinued during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Heritage Days for fourth graders in Jefferson County will take place towards the end of the school year and Archicamp, a hands-on daily camp program, is set for July.

Charlie’s Beat
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If you’re a country music fan, you’re in luck. There are two excellent bands coming to town, this Saturday, April 8, and next Saturday, April 15, both at Red Bicycle Hall.

Dallas Moore is first up this Saturday at Red Bicycle Hall, with Branden Martin opening. Moore is a consummate professional musician, logging upwards of 300 shows a year. He has a strong national following, with a number of out-of-town folks flocking to Madison this weekend to see one of their favorite performers.

Moore takes his cues from the founding fathers of the genre — Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, David Allen Coe and George Jones — all of whom he’s shared stages with at various points during his nearly 30-year career. He also cites the influence of the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band, artists he’s also had the pleasure of performing alongside.

A lot of tickets have already been sold for this show, but there should still be a few left at

Then there’s another high-profile country talent coming to Red Bicycle, this one on April 15. Pete Schlegel has been touring and recording for more than 20 years. Music is actually his second career, having worked as a state trooper and an EMS helicopter pilot.

In 2002 Pete hit the big time with a song called “It Takes a Whole Lot of Liquor to Like Her” which charted in the U.S. and Europe. “It didn’t hurt that Hank Williams Jr. recorded the song also, so the success of the song just kind of magnified,” explains Pete.

“I was sitting at home and my daughter, who was 10 at the time, answered the phone and then called out, Dad, it’s MTV on the phone! I thought maybe it was a joke, but they wanted to add it to their Country mix. Then GAC and CMT also picked it up, and things started popping for me.

“I had charted songs before, but Liquor to Like Her took it to a whole new level. I recently completed my sixth album. And I have a new song called ‘Glasses’ that premiered on March 1st and it’s been getting some play time on CMT and other streaming services.”

I asked Peter how he happened to have a show scheduled in Madison. “Well, when I was flying EMS helicopters up in northern Indiana, we often flew out of Rochester. That’s where I met Brent and Catherine Evans.”

Brent and Catherine are the dynamic duo who moved to Madison a couple years ago and opened Sallie’s Small Batch Ice Creams and the Madison Music Studio. They are also the musical duo Jhonny & Sallie, who will be opening for Pete Schlegel.

“We are pretty much straight ahead country,” says Pete. “Not the outlaw stuff. We are more of the high energy, honky tonk, good time type of band. Lots of drinking songs. Cheatin’ songs. All the stuff that great country music is known for. If you come out to the show I guarantee you’ll have a great time.”

If you want to see a sample of Pete’s music, just go to YouTube and search “Pete Schlegel Glasses.” Tickets to the show on April 15 are available at

Hot Tip of the WeekAs an owner of Red Bicycle Hall, I get a lot of email inquiries about upcoming shows and questions about the best places to stay and eat in Madison. I had a long back and forth with a nice person named Darcy coming to the Dallas Moore show on Saturday. When I asked her where she was from, she told me the Cleveland, Ohio area. She said they loved Dallas Moore and spent a lot of weekends going to see his shows. Which highlights two things. First, the significant economic impact of being Indiana’s Music City, with the number of people who come to town and spend their money to enjoy our amazing music scene. And secondly, the fact that us residents can enjoy these amazing music shows right in our own backyard! Don’t take it for granted, it is truly something special.

This Week in Music

Friday, April 7

VFW — Karaoke

Brown Gym — Smokin’ Cinders (senior citizens dance door opens 5 p.m./dance 6:30 p.m.)

Saturday, April 8

VFW — Crossfire

Red Bicycle Hall — Dallas Moore w/Branden Martin

Tuesday, April 4

Off-Broadway Taproom — Open Mic Night

Madison facing busy period for road improvements
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With the new Shoppes at Sunrise Crossing development likely to bring even more traffic to one of the busiest and most dangerous intersections on Madison’s hilltop, the city of Madison and Indiana Department of Transportation are moving forward with a long overdue project to redesign and reconfigure the intersection of Michigan Road and State Road 62.

Marc Rape, of Strand Associates, is serving as the consultant project manager. He was at an informational meeting last week to talk to the public and to answer questions about the work that will be done.

Rape said the impetus for the project is the fact that 33 crashes have occurred at the intersection over a three-year span. “The higher than expected crash rate is the primary reason for the proposed improvements,” Rape noted, adding that a road safety audit back in 2016 had indentified the intersection as a problem with Indiana Department of Transportation recognizing that public safety funds should be sought to address the safety issues.

Since that time, the dynamics of that intersection have changed even more with the construction of Shoppes at Sunrise Crossing and upcoming Residences at Sunrise Crossing as well as the city of Madison diverting all heavy truck traffic from Main Street onto Clifty Drive (State Road 62). Fortunately, the plan worked on back then is still valid today so the project can move forward without further study and changes.

“To my knowledge, it has not changed anything with this plan, but I do think it makes it less likely the district would downsize this project based on local concerns,” Rape said. “That increase of traffic certainly is only going to make the situation worse, and it’s a pretty sizeable development.”

The project, anticipated to cost approximately $750,000 with a bid opening scheduled for Aug. 9, will include upgrades to traffic signals and equipment, and the extension of concrete medians on the north, south and west legs of the intersection in order to eliminate left-turn movements on State Road 62. Once done, INDOT expects it will eliminate conflicts with vehicles turning into oncoming traffic ahead of the intersection and reduce collisions.

Construction is likely to begin Oct. 2 and end by Dec. 1, which could see that work follow the city’s project to develop a new intersection and traffic lights at nearby Crestwood Drive as promised in the recruitment of the Sunrise Crossings development.

Tony Steinhardt III, the city’s economic development director, said the INDOT project will not impact construction that’s currently underway at the Shoppes at Sunrise Crossing. Construction is well underway for Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx and Five Below and work is slated to begin this month on a Kohl’s department store.

“No impact,” Steinhardt said of the impact. “We had worked with the state to coordinate the work and the traffic on Michigan Road last summer.”

Steinhardt stated Friday that no official open dates have yet been set for the new retail businesses.

Approximately 20 people were in attendance at INDOT’s informational meeting with a few business owners expressing concerns about how the work would impact them and their customers.

Rape noted that access to all businesses and properties will be maintained throughout the construction period. However, the intersection improvements will require closure of the middle lane in each direction while maintaining a single lane in each direction plus a dedicated eastbound left turn lane to northbound Michigan Road.

At the same time, motorists in Madison should plan for a long summer and fall of traffic issues based on the number and scope of projects scheduled to take place.

Madison Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff Mindy McGee provided a report to City Council on Tuesday indicating that an increase in road projects should be expected this year and for the next few years.

Hanging Rock Hill (which is also State Road 7) is scheduled for a closure beginning April 11 and lasting as long as October to make slide corrections that are undermining the highway and to replace or upgrade utilities that are also impacted. That work could be completed by July 25 but INDOT has set aside until October should the work prove more time consuming.

The official detour for the project is US 421 and State Road 62 but many local motorists are likely to divert to the Michigan Road hill and both routes are likely to funnel more traffic into the Michigan Road/State Road 62 intersection construction zone.

Madison had already planned a road resurfacing project for Michigan Road this summer from the base of the hill to the Sunrise Crossing site and has plans to repave Main Street to the top of Hanover Hill once grants are allocated in the next couple of years. In addition there are sidewalk, street crossings and roadway reflector projects on tap.

Jefferson County government, which maintains all local bridges in the county, will begin addressing three bridge improvement projects on Main Street in Madison — one at the railroad incline, another at Crooked Creek and a third near the entrance to Clifty Creek State Park and Indiana Kentucky Electric Corporation’s Clifty Creek Power Plant — that will cost about $9 million with bids anticipated in 2027 and construction in 2028.

“Coordination is the key on how this impacts us as the state, county and city are all doing projects and all will come together at the same time,” said Madison Mayor Bob Courtney. “It’s great that were having this much investment in infrastructure improvement but it’s going to involve some major coordination.”

McGee said the city is prepared to do its part to lessen the impact of so much road work whether that’s shifting work schedules when possible or providing officers to help direct traffic as necessary. “It might be that we do our Michigan Road project last,” she said, which would take some of the pressure off but also extend the overall time for completion of all work.