MADISON, Tenn. (WKRN) — East of Interstate 65 and along the Cumberland River sits a community looking to realize its potential.

“With all the focus downtown, it’s important that communities like Madison are provided equity and the opportunity and have that Renaissance realized,” said Metro Nashville District 8 Council member Nancy VanReece.

She was joined by Nashville leaders over the summer while cutting the ribbon on the $12 million Madison Station Boulevard project. The expanded and beautified road includes new sidewalks, bikeways and a roundabout all aimed to spur new private investment in Madison, including new businesses and places to live.

“You’ve got Gallatin Pike, the WeGo 56 line is the workhorse of our transit system. More people get on and off the bus in front of the Madison library than any other place in the entire county, other than the downtown Music City Center,” said VanReece.

As much of Nashville bursts at the seams with residents, the ones moving to Madison need places to live, work and play.

“We need more jobs, we need more restaurant, more retail ad we knew that would happen when there’s more rooftops,” explained VanReece. “We’ve been doing a lot of work to maintain mixed income communities from naturally occurring affordability to new affordable apartments to luxury condos.”

VanReece said they need Madison to be more accessible for pedestrians.

“Madison has not been known for that. You know, we have the large lots, not a lot of sidewalks and so kind of building an urban core in a suburban area is fantastic,” said VanReece.

A massive new development being proposed checks a lot of those boxes.

“It’s time for Madison to achieve its Renaissance and this is a way to do that,” she said.

Madison Station is a mixed-use development planned for 32 acres at 721 Madison Square. There will be several stories of residential, retail and office space. There will also be affordable housing units included as well after a lot of input from the community.

“Madison is a good reflection of Davidson County as a whole — I believe 32% African American, 18% Latino/Latin-x Have all been involved in this conversation,” said VanReece.

It’s a conversation also involving people new to Madison and those who’ve been there for decades.

“I’ve learned something this year, and that is that people are not afraid of change, they’re afraid of loss,” said VanReece. “Whenever you recognize what you believe that they’re losing, or that they really are losing, and can identify that as an opportunity for growth, then you can mutually together guide that change,” said VanReece. “There’s been a lot going on in this town, and we quietly have done this for ourselves. And so I think that that’s what’s encouraging about it. And I’m pleased that Mayor Cooper also understands that it’s important that we kind of extend our prosperity to the county line.”

The Metro Industrial Development Board supported the Madison Station project unanimously and it heads to the Metro council for further discussion.