This could be a big — really big — week for Madison.

City officials and private citizens will be in Denver to represent the city in the America’s Best Communities competition.

Madison is one of eight finalist communities vying for the $3 million grand prize.

On Wednesday, each finalist will present its strategy for economic revitalization and share progress made in achieving new growth. Following the final presentations, the three communities with the best strategies — those with the most innovative ideas being effectively implemented — will be named winners and awarded $3 million, $2 million and $1 million, respectively.

Madison will make its presentation at 12:25 p.m. Madison time. The award ceremony will be at 7 p.m.

Madison’s participation in the competition has already brought $150,000 in winnings to the community for the construction of a pedestrian and bicycle pathway loop in Madison.

The process from first learning of the competition to Wednesday’s announcement has taken three years. Madison first heard of the project in 2014. In that time, our local group worked to create a project that would benefit the city, and then developed a plan to implement the project.

The project involved reopening the former Hatcher Hill Road as a pedestrian and bicycle trail as well as beginning revitalization of Mulberry Street.

One of the top prizes would help continue the work by connecting the base of Hatcher Hill Trail to Mulberry Street and Hatcher Hill Trail to the Heritage Trail, as well as creating trailheads, signage, benches, bathrooms, maps and possibly a bike share program or spurs off the loop.

The announcement ceremony may be viewed on a large screen at 7 p.m. at two “viewing party” locations in Madison. 

Viewing parties will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Boneyard Grill at 513 Clifty Drive or The Red Bicycle Hall at 125 E. Main St.

A live stream of the community’s presentation and the Grand Prize Ceremony will be available at www.facebook.com/AmericasBestCommunities/.

The competition is sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel.

Certainly, we hope Madison takes the top prize, but regardless of the outcome, the city has already benefitted. The Hatcher Hill project is a wonderful addition to the other outdoor recreational features offered in the community.

Now that the weather has warmed, we encourage everyone to enjoy our trails and outdoor features that contribute to the beauty of the city and our quality of life.

Good luck, Madison.