Madison County obtains Thriving Community grant

Apr. 20—ANDERSON — Madison County is one of 20 communities around the nation to receive a Thriving Communities grant.

The grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation will provide consultants to assist local government entities in developing a plan to connect communities in southern Madison County.

Last fall, commissioners sent a letter of intent to participate in the Thriving Communities program through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Madison County Engineer Jessica Bastin said the grant doesn't require any matching funds from the county, the South Madison Community Foundation or Falls Park in Pendleton.

"The consultant will help mentor us with the process on how to develop a plan and apply for grant funding," she said.

The proposal is for the Fall Creek Greenway that will develop a trail corridor along Fall Creek to Ingalls and unincorporated areas of Madison County.

"The plan is conceptual and will get us ready for construction," Bastin said. "This will assist in creating a detailed plan and design."

She said the completed plan will open grant funding operations through the state and federal government.

"We want to use this as a template, as a way to engage residents and the communities," Bastin said.

Tammy Bowman, director of the South Madison Community Foundation, said the intention is to connect people with the benefits in all the communities.

"This is the groundwork to move the project forward," Bowman said. "This is being highly requested by the people in the communities.

"People agreed there are great opportunities in the area but they want a safe way to utilize them," she added. "This is a great opportunity for southern Madison County. How do we create a corridor that will share all the benefits with every community?"

Board of Commissioners President John Richwine said the Thriving Communities program aligns with steps the county is already taking.

"We want to work with the communities and develop relationships," he said.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.