On January 28, 2023, at the annual Cities United Summit, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) partnering with Georgia Trend Magazine presented nine cities, including Madison, the Visionary City Award. This award honors cities that have created positive community change through effective civic engagement and collaboration. Madison received the Visionary City Award for the decade of work by the Downtown Development Authority and the Housing Opportunity Commission in the Canaan Neighborhood.
The award recognizes the comprehensive community engagement, primarily through regular town halls, in the planning and execution of the project. This engagement directly fed into another important aspect of the award, cross-sector collaboration. Not only was there collaboration between city boards resulting in workforce housing and a Tot Lot park for young children, but also with non-profits and religious institutions such as the Boys & Girls Club, the Madison Morgan Community Food Pantry, the Methodist Church, the Fifth Street Community Garden, and Georgia Military College to bring services to the neighborhood. These collaborations involved diverse segments and perspectives, another important aspect of the award.
Lastly, innovative approaches to solutions were a factor in Madison’s choice for the Visionary City Award. Out-of-the-box ideas, such as converting the Gilmore House into mixed use which includes a community room, business incubator spaces, and affordable apartments convert challenges into solutions.
Congratulations to the Downtown Development Authority and Housing Opportunity Commission for garnering the Visionary City Award for the City of Madison.