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MADISON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Construction could get underway later this year on a $54 million mixed-use development in Madison, including retail, restaurant, and residential space. The city, the Madison Redevelopment Commission and Madison Plaza Group LLC signed an economic development agreement to revitalize a former shopping center that has been vacant for about a decade.

The former Madison Plaza will be converted into approximately 155,000 square feet of commercial space and 190 housing units.

The city has agreed to invest $4 million towards the project, including infrastructure upgrades and incentives. Kentucky-based Winterwood Inc. is the developer on the proposed project.

“Our approach is to incentivize economic development in a way that provides a high return on investment for the city. Our strategies were put in place two years ago, and the pandemic may have delayed the development, but it allowed us more time to improve the overall outcome for the community, and we couldn’t be more pleased,” said Mayor Bob Courtney.

The partners say the project will be completed in three phases, beginning with the development of the shopping center, which will include four and six retail spaces. Phase two is the development of housing units and the out-lot, which would serve as restaurant space. Phase three is the development of additional retail space.

“The opportunity to create jobs and increase the tax base is always challenging,” said Craig Turner, managing member of Madison Plaza Group LLC. “The development plan of the 22 acres will create housing and retail opportunities. We are bringing national tenants to the shopping center to enhance the shopping experience in the area.”

Phase one is expected to be completed by spring 2023.

MADISON (Inside INdiana Business) – Madison-based SuperATV has acquired off-road manufacturer Assault Industries in California. SuperATV, which makes aftermarket powersports parts and accessories, says Assault Industries will help it expand its dealer and consumer reach on the West Coast.

“Kristina and I have contemplated our long-term plans for many years now,” said Assault Industries owner Marcelo Danze. “After meeting with SuperATV’s leadership, it was apparent to us that SuperATV was the right partner and an ideal future steward for the Assault Industries brand.”

SuperATV says the acquisition will expand its product offerings and customer base.

“We have built SuperATV from a hobby in my father’s garage to global leadership in the ATV/UTV aftermarket parts and accessory business,” said SuperATV President Lindsay Hunt. “Assault Industries shares SuperATV’s passion for both its customers and products, which will be a tremendous asset as we all work to wow our customers, dealers, and each other.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

MADISON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A historic building in Madison is enjoying new life after a more than $20 million restoration. The Eagle Cotton Mill, which had sat vacant since the 1980s, has been transformed into an 85-room Fairfield Inn and Suites and has been open since a ribbon cutting event in July. The three-story, 104,000-square-foot building was at one point listed on Indiana Landmarks’ 10 Most Endangered list and Ron Bateman with developer Riverton LLC says the project to restore it comes with much satisfaction.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Bateman said the project has the full support of the community.

“There’s so much love for [the building] in this community. People have been trying to figure out how to save it for 30-some years,” said Bateman. “I mean, it’s a spectacular location. It sits right on the river. It’s the last of Madison’s major waterfront industry from the 19th Century and it was extremely well built the first time. We focused on making the outside as near-perfect as we could. The inside was pretty simple; it’s all new anyway.”

The mill was built in 1884 and the new hotel is the first Fairfield Inn housed inside a historic building, according to Indiana Landmarks. Plans for the restoration project were first announced in January 2019. Bateman says while the pandemic did cause some delays, the work continued.

“We never really stopped; it slowed us down some, but it didn’t really affect our product delivery schedule much because we had done a lot of our ordering before that,” he said. “We really didn’t have much in the way of delays until the end of the project when we were trying to get our furniture and things in from China. And we still have a couple pieces that are missing.”

The effort came with the support of the city of Madison and the Indiana Economic Development Corp., which provided nearly $5 million in incentives. Bateman said the support from local and state officials was key.

“They’ve been watching us and they’ve been really supportive. In fact, the governor was here this past week and stayed in the hotel and it’s kind of an exciting event,” said Bateman. “A tremendous amount of work had to be done to get the building done. The IEDC and the city of Madison really stepped up to help us get this done. It couldn’t have been done any other way.”

MADISON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An Arizona company that operates customer engagement centers at two Indiana women’s prisons has launched a program to help prepare their incarcerated workers for employment after they are released.

The sales and marketing firm Televerde created a nonprofit foundation to provide the imprisoned employees with workforce development programs and to create career pathways.

Televerde Foundation says it also wants to reduce the rates of women who are sent back to prison.

“Women who are formerly incarcerated have a 25% to 45% higher unemployment rate. The number one predictor for recidivism is joblessness,” said Michelle Cirocco, executive director of the foundation.

The Rockville Correctional Facility telemarketing center opened in March 2015. Last December, the company opened its second call center in the state at the Madison Correctional Facility for women.

Televerde says those centers provide business, project management, and customer service skills through on-the-job training. But the new re-entry program will provide personal and professional development tools to help soon-to-be-released workers prepare for a job search, such as community reintegration, workplace readiness, resume writing, and interviewing skills.

“We just really want to make sure that in addition to skills they learned while they were working for us, we also provide the additional education resources, training support necessary to be able to join the global workforce,” said Cirocco. “That means they can walk into any company, sit down in a cubicle next to anybody, and be prepared to be successful in that particular job.”

Cirocco says the six-month-long program is intended for women who are in the final year of their sentence. The initiative started in April at the Arizona prisons where Televerde operates customer centers.

The Indiana program will start in September. She said the classes will likely be taught virtually for both Indiana institutions. Cirocco says the students in the cohort will be released shortly thereafter.

With the COVID-inflicted unemployment rate hovering near 14% nationally and nearly 17% in Indiana, Cirocco says those numbers will not help these women already facing the stigma of a criminal record.

“In the best of times, being released from prison presents challenges associated with housing, transportation and employment,” explained Cirocco. “When you think of the current situation, we have to prepare them to be able to successfully transition or they really just don’t have a chance.”

Televerde says it does not have enough capacity to hire every woman who works for them in the prisons after they released. That is another reason why the company says it will continue to provide services to its graduates after they are released, providing ongoing career development services that could lead to career advancement.

“By adding the additional education and training and development after they’re released, they can pursue real careers, which will not only keep them out of prison, but it will enable them to provide more for their families and more for their children so that their children can go to college and have careers themselves.”

Televerde Foundation Executive Director Michelle Cirocco tells Inside INdiana Business the women are getting a second chance in life.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb will gradually lift restrictions on elective procedures at hospitals and clinics across the state, he announced Monday during a virtual Statehouse briefing.

Beginning Tuesday, hospitals will be permitted to diagnose and treat non-emergency medical conditions.

The provisions will be expanded to other clinics and practices on April 27 if the state has sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line medical workers battling COVID-19, the governor said.

He had previously directed all health care providers at hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dental facilities, plastic surgery centers, dermatology offices and other facilities to cancel or postpone any surgery or invasive procedure “which can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of the patient as determined by the treating provider,” according to an executive order effective April 1.

“We will be opening up the elective procedures front in a staged way,” Holcomb said during Monday’s press conference. “And I want to underscore ‘staged way,’ so it’s not all at once.”

He encouraged hospitals to resume performing procedures including cancer and cardiac screenings, upper and lower endoscopies, pain management procedures and pulmonary treatment not related to COVID-19.

Future restrictions on medical procedures will be reevaluated every seven days, Holcomb added.

Health officials will continue monitoring the state’s supply inventory of masks, gloves, gowns and other protective gear alongside Indiana Hospital Association members.

However, even as the state takes steps toward lifting pandemic restrictions, some Hoosiers struggle to access treatment that cannot be delayed without potential health consequences.

Not all elective procedures are optional, according to doctors.

Bill Nelson, an Anderson resident who undergoes regular treatment for an eye condition, said Monday’s announcement gave him “hope” but he worried about delaying his next procedure.

He was diagnosed in April 2018 with retinal vein occlusion, a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina.

“It’s like ‘having a stroke in that eye,'” Nelson said, quoting his ophthalmologist. “When that vein swells and leaks blood, then your vision goes dark. And if it’s untreated, you could have loss of sight in that eye.”

He receives injections of medication to control vein swelling approximately every seven weeks. He often knew it was time for an appointment when his vision began to blur, he said.

Nelson was treated March 3. His next appointment, initially scheduled for April 21, was postponed to June 9 due to COVID-19 concerns.

“There’s no way that I think I could go that long without losing vision,” he said. “COVID-19 is of the utmost importance at this time; I understand that. But there [are] people that have problems, that have to be addressed, and they have to get the treatment they need for other things or they’re going to suffer the consequences.”

He made multiple attempts to book an earlier appointment but could not reach his doctor or the doctor’s assistant, he said.

His concerns ranged from completely losing vision in the affected eye to regressing in his treatment plan; each injection cost approximately $2,500, according to Nelson.

The clinic did not immediately respond to calls and emails from News 8.

Health care providers have the authority to determine which procedures can be delayed under the governor’s executive order.

MADISON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The city of Madison has announced Mayor Damon Welch has died. In a post on Facebook, the city says the mayor woke up early Wednesday morning with health complications and passed away at Kings Daughters Hospital.

Welch was elected to his first term as mayor in November 2011. He was a native of Madison and served in the U.S. Air Force, reaching the rank of captain, according to his biography on the city’s website.

Dan Dattilo, president of the Madison City Council, will serve as acting mayor until the Indiana Republican Party holds a caucus to determine a successor for Welch.

Governor Eric Holcomb released a statement following the news of Welch’s passing:

“Damon was a tireless public servant who was passionate about his city and the state of Indiana. As a veteran, small businessman and city leader, he nurtured relationships of all types to improve the lives of all of those around him. Janet and I are heartbroken for his family, friends and the Madison community. We ask that all Hoosiers join us in offering prayers and condolences to the Welch family.”

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer also released a statement:

“Today, Indiana lost a true public servant with the passing of Mayor Damon Welch, a leader who loved Madison and loved serving his hometown. He took great ideas and ran with them, and the results show as Madison shines today as a vibrant community that continues to win statewide and national accolades. 

Mayors and leaders across Indiana looked up to the example he set for leadership and for service. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, colleagues and the people of Madison.”

The city says funeral arrangements for Mayor Welch are pending.

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — State officials have awarded a $79 million contract to widen a section of Interstate 69 to six lanes northeast of Indianapolis.

The highway department accepted the bid from Walsh Construction/Reith Riley. The project is in the stretch from near the State Road 38 interchange at Pendleton north to the Anderson area. The Herald Bulletin reports the starting date for the work will be set once the contracts are finalized.

The project includes 8.4 miles of new construction and 6.5 miles of pavement maintenance.

Anderson economic development director Greg Winkler says the I-69 widening will reduce travel time to Indianapolis and make the city more attractive to new residents.

Previous projects have widened I-69 to at least six lanes between I-465 and the Pendleton area.


Francisco Martinez Hernandez was formally charged March 12 in Madison Circuit Court 5 with intimidation where threat is to commit a forcible felony. A pretrial conference is set for May 14.PREVIOUS

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — A 19-year-old is in jail after he commented to another student Thursday, Feb. 22, about his access to guns and plans to shoot up the school, the Madison County sheriff said.

Francisco Martinez Hernandez, of Anderson, made the comments at the the Frankton-Lapel district’s alternative school, which in the district’s administration building, said the sheriff and Superintendent Bobby Fields. The student excused herself from class and went to Assistant Superintendent Sterling Boles. Boles called the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Fields said.

The call came in to the sheriff’s office at 9:53 a.m. Thursday, said a news release from the sheriff’s office.

The alternative school provides online classes for high school juniors and seniors who need additional credits to graduate, Fields said.

The school superintendent said the sheriff’s office is investigating to determine if the threat is credible. However, Fields said, the district acts on all threats as if they are credible. The superintendent sent an email to parents later Thursday that encouraged them to talk with their children about not making such threats, even just as comments.

Martinez-Hernandez admitted to police that he told another student he had access to guns and plans to shoot up the school. Martinez-Hernandez was preliminarily charged with intimidation and was being held in the Madison County Detention Center, the release said. The Madison County prosecutor would decide on formal charges.

The administration building where the alternative school is located sits about 2 miles northwest of Anderson at the intersection of county roads 800 West and 300 North.

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) – The city of Anderson and eight former employees have reached a settlement over their firings in 2012.

The Herald Bulletin reports that an $852,000 jury award will be trimmed to $682,000 after negotiations. The deal would end Anderson’s appeal of the verdict.

The eight former employees said they were illegally dismissed by then-Mayor Kevin Smith’s administration because they supported his Democratic opponent in the 2011 election. The city said they were non-union workers with no job protections.

The settlement will likely be paid through a combination of tax dollars and insurance. The Herald Bulletin says Tim Stires would get the most, $181,000. He was rehired by the current mayor, Tom Broderick.

Smith lost his bid for re-election in 2015.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Ohio River city of Madison and the northern Indiana town of Culver are the latest communities to be designated Stellar Communities by the state.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced Wednesday that Madison and Culver were selected from among six finalists.

The six-year-old Stellar Community program is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize smaller communities that have identified community and economic development projects and the next steps they need to take.

Madison’s plans include a bike and pedestrian trail, re-using historic buildings, creating a mixed-use facility in a former cotton mill and improving a riverfront park.

Culver’s plans focus on creating workforce housing, expanding the Lake Maxinkuckee bike and pedestrian trail, renovating a local lodge and improving its western gateway into a multimodal corridor.