Huntsville Adds Long Range Urban Planner

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - There's a new face joining 'Team Huntsville' in January to help the city with long-term development plans.

Tuesday morning, surrounded by the blueprints of city projects either proposed or underway, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said it was time to add "depth" to the city planning department and announced Dennis Madsen as the new Manager of Urban and Long Range Planning.

"Dennis impressed us with his philosophy, extensive knowledge of urban design and master planning, and his successful work building consensus with civic groups, neighborhoods and businesses," said Mayor Battle. "Huntsville is poised to take the next leap in growth and development, and I believe we have hired the right person to join our outstanding planning team."

Madsen's background is architecture.  He has worked for the past 10 years as an Associate at Urban Collage, Inc. in Atlanta, a firm focused on urban design and planning.

"There is the opportunity here to work closely with communities," Madsen said.

Madsen joins the Manager of Planning Administration, Marie Bostick, and both work for Shane Davis, Director of Urban Development.  Each is paid more than $110,000 by the City of Huntsville.

Madsen's position is newly created.  Davis says the positions are not redundant, but necessary to help the city grow and progress.

"His staff will be setting where we want to be five years from now, 10 years from now and Marie is the action of today, that month," said Davis.

Bostick said she believes Madsen is a good fit for her team, too.

"Dennis will be a strong addition to our department, and he will provide even greater transparency as we deepen the involvement of neighborhoods and communities in our master planning and urban renewal goals," said Bostick.

Madsen admits he has much to learn about Huntsville, and said the mention of one specific possibility for development caught his attention and enthusiasm.

"From a personal standpoint, I have a lot of interest in baseball and when we mentioned the opportunity to do something with the stadium, that was very, very compelling to me," Madsen said.

He's an architect by training.  He'll begin his job January 14, leaving Atlanta where he worked in the private sector to come to his wife's hometown and work in the public sector.

Madsen and his wife, Laura Lester, have one son, five-year-old Adlais.  Madsen was one of more than 140 people who applied for this new position.

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