MADISON — Some have suggested specific restaurants like Walk On’s or Cotton Blue. Others have suggested a safe place for teens to hang out, like a bowling alley or Top Golf. Some called for libraries or bookstores, complete with a Starbucks, to host local authors.

Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler is getting a lot of feedback on a question she posted on Facebook last week about the future of Madison.

Her question was simple: What would you like to see in the City of Madison? 

As of Tuesday, she’d received more than 275 comments from Madison residents.

The responses are all over the place. 

Hawkins-Butler said she isn’t surprised by the amount of feedback.

“I think it’s great to hear from the people on what they want,” she said. “It proves that if you get something they want, they’ll support it. People love their community, and we always want to hear from them.”

Some of the responses may seem outlandish. One person inquired about the viability of a Six Flags theme park or aquarium. But Hawkins-Butler said there’s no bad ideas when it comes to improving a city which still has a lot of room for future growth.

Madison has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the state for nearly three decades. With a population of 25,676, it is now the 12th largest city in Mississippi, based on official 2017 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s also one of the Magnolia State’s wealthiest cities, with an annual median household income of $106,850 — more than double the state average of $43,567.

Hawkins-Butler has served as the city’s mayor since 1981, when the population of the city totaled less than 2,500 souls.

As Hawkins-Butler explained, “We’ve been very blessed.”

There are already several projects under way in Madison to improve the city’s social scene and keep residents from seeking entertainment in neighboring communities. Work is already underway to develop 17 acres of city property on Main Street to create a walkable “downtown” area that has been billed as “Madison’s crown jewel.” The area will include living, shopping and dining options and include the city’s first-ever parking garage.



But as Hawkins-Butler recently discovered with the response to her Facebook post, Madison residents still have a long wish-list.

The city currently has several grocery options, but one name that continuously appeared in the responses was the desire for Madison to land the Jackson Metro Area’s first location for Trader Joe’s, a popular grocery chain found in most major metropolitan areas.

That’s a realistic goal, Hawkins-Butler said, adding that the conversation then would turn to where to place these potential businesses. In the mean-time, she’s still soliciting ideas from more residents.

“There’s some things that would be better placed in the Grandview area vs. the new downtown,” Hawkins-Butler said. “I have looked at the responses, and at first glance, the number one thing people want to see is a Trader Joe’s and more local restaurant options.

“We’re going to record all of these responses, analyze them and get to work on making as many of them as possible a reality.”