LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Madison, Indiana, has been selected as a semi-finalist community in the America's Best Communities competition, advancing it in a competition for the first place prize of $3 million, according to a news release from America's Best Communities.

More than 400 communities nationwide entered the competition after its launch in 2014, and 50 were selected as quarterfinalists in April 2015.

Each of the 50 was awarded $50,000 in seed money to develop a Community Revitalization Plan and were paired with a major Corporation that served as a strategic advisor as part of the competition's Adopt-a-Community Program.

From this class of 50 quarterfinalist communities, the fifteen with the best plans -- those with the most innovative ideas being effectively executed -- were named semifinalists on Wednesday.

Those living in Madison, Indiana are excited about the possibility of the city winning $3 million dollars.

They say Madison is a town where you come to know everyone.

"People hold the door open for you, they talk to you, they know you by first name," said Mary-Beth Boone, a boutique owner.

"I'm not really surprised to be honest with you and I'm not trying to be cocky, but we really have something special here in Madison," said Mayor Damon Welch.

Mayor Damon Welch says, if Madison wins the money, they plan to invest in a connector plan for pedestrians and those on bike.

"We also have trails, Heritage Trail, and I think the project they've been working on or proposed is to link, where we have a huge circle, that goes from historic downtown up on to the hilltop and then comes around on the other side of town and makes a big loop of our town," said Mayor Welch.

In April, city representatives will pitch the idea to a panel  of judges in North Carolina.

From there, the list of cities will be narrowed down.

Those living in Madison are hoping for a win and more exposure for the city.

"I think it will give us the opportunity to expand even more of our hospitality, our culture, our way of living that we have done so many years here in Madison," said Shelly Dews, Community Service Representative for Trilogy Health Services in Madison.

The actual winners of the competition are expected to be named in April of 2017. The first place winner will receive $3 million, the second place winner will receive $2 million, and the 3rd place winner will receive $1 million dollars.

The semifinalists are:

  • Lake Havasu City,Arizona
  • Charleston, West Virginia
  • Statesboro, Georgia
  • Valley County/Meadows Valley, Idaho
  • Chisago Lakes Area, Minnesota
  • Huntington, West Virginia
  • Portsmouth, Ohio
  • DeKalb, Illinois
  • Fort Dodge, Iowa
  • Darrington/Arlington, Washington
  • Valparaiso, Indiana
  • Tualatin, Oregon
  • Wenatchee/East Wenatchee, Washington
  • Madison, Indiana
  • Angola/Fremont, Indiana

The America's Best Communities competition is sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel.

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