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Donuts, dugouts and development: Finley talks Madison, triple play

HUNTSVILLE – Two lingering themes emerged from Mayor Paul Finley’s City of Madison Update at the Von Braun Center.

Once only a small suburb of its neighbor to the east, the thriving town will continue to build its own identity.

It will also continue to forge a strong relationship with neighboring Huntsville.

With the Rocket City now encircling Madison, the mayor pointed to a map on a slide and noted there’s not much choice.

(256 Today)

“We’re right in the middle of Huntsville. You can see we are surrounded, kind of like the donut hole,” he said. But, “If you’re in Madison, you feel like every day is just a big hug.”

Finley addressed a full Saturn Ballroom as the featured guest of the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber and highlighted Madison’s progress and future plans with a presentation he called “Inside Baseball” of how sports have inspired him and how Rocket City Trash Pandas baseball and Toyota Field in particular have fueled the city’s current growth.

“I love being the mayor of our city,” Finley said. ?I’m so proud of what we accomplished. I’m proud of how we fit into this overall Tennessee Valley.”

Finley addressed the next elections for Madison. While not making any announcements about his plans, he explained why there’s been no election chatter.

“There’s a reason for that because the state Legislature’s moved a majority of the municipalities off of the presidential cycle and Madison was given another year,” he said. “And so (Madison) as council and mayor will run in August of 2025.”

(Paul Finley/Facebook)
  • I-565 interchange
    “Our largest economic development opportunity, Town Madison continues to mature as well,” Finley said. “The anchor is Toyota Field, and we’ve all been able to enjoy a Trash Panda game or enjoy a non-baseball event. But the true catalyst in bringing Town Madison to its full potential is the full interchange at I-565 into Town Madison. It’s going to open up that entire 500-plus acres into a triple live-work-play in Town Madison. But as importantly, it’s going to make a difference for getting into gate seven of Redstone Arsenal. It’s a $37 million project that should be complete by January of 2025, just in time for that new baseball season.”
  • Toyota Field
    Finley said, “One of the things I’d hear is, ‘That stadium’s losing all kinds of money.’ (But it’s added) $3.6 million from just the funding structures.” Finley said lodging taxes shared with Huntsvillle have created surplus money and three more hotels in Town Madison are being built. “I think it’s a great investment.”
  • Hexagon project
    Finley said there will be an $8 million retooling of the 38,000-square foot former Hexagon building 23A on the western side of Town Madison into a public safety complex. This will house headquarters for Fire & Rescue, the Madison Police Department and IT (moved in by end of this year) and will alleviate crowding at give City Hall. “Everyone has more space, giving us the ability to keep them safer.”’ A fourth fire station will be included with a completion date of early 2026. Response times will quicken, and residents will benefit on insurance rates.
(What’s Happening Madison/Facebook)
  • Wellness Center
    A 28,000-square foot facility across the parking lot from the public safety annex will house a full gymnasium, two fields and pickleball courts for Madison’s growing adult programs as well as overall athletics to aid in quality of life.


  • Bradford Creek Greenway
    The two-and-a-half mile pathway that spans Palmer Park to Heritage Elementary School will transition into a park-like setting and will keep what Finley called “the core of Madison” green. A playground, outdoor bathroom, three pavilions are among the amenities.
  • Community Center
    A 30,000-square foot, 30-acre facility being transitioned from old into new. This includes the senior center, a special needs area and meeting and other space for nonprofits, arts, ceramics, music, a community garden and woodworking shop. A place, Finley said, “all of Madison can use.’
(256 Today)

The mayor touched on other topics including education, Madison’s No. 1 priority, which has blossomed with the city. Madison had a population of 4,000 in 1980 and now is at 60,000. During his tenure, the city has christened Madison Hospital, Hogan YMCA, James Clemens HIgh School, Indian Creek Park expansion, Target and the Shoppes at Madison.

Before wrapping up, Finley said Madison, like a teammate to Huntsville and Madison County, will continue to thrive as in sports when “you don’t care who gets the credit and you in turn put everything you have into the winning we will, as a community, continue to win.”

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