New Knight Neighborhood Challenge Grant winners announced

pramati@macon.comMarch 29, 2012 

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced Thursday it has awarded another $217,024 in Knight Neighborhood Challenge Grants that will fund eight projects in the College Hill neighborhood between Mercer University and downtown Macon.

The Community Foundation of Central Georgia administers the grant program in Macon for the Knight Foundation. It’s the fifth round of Neighborhood Challenge grants since the program was launched in 2009.

Kathryn Dennis, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, said the organization is halfway through what ultimately will be 10 rounds of grants. The foundation has awarded a total of $1.3 million of the $3 million the Knight Foundation originally awarded for the challenge, funding more than 70 projects.

The largest grant announced Thursday was $131,869, awarded to the College Hill Corridor Commission for branding and signs in the corridor area.

Other awards include:

• $32,950 to Friends of Tattnall Square Park for a planting project called “Cooling The Square.”

• $15,330 to Mercer Village merchants to put on the Mercer Village Festival on the third Saturday of every month. The first event was held earlier this month on St. Patrick’s Day.

• Separate grants of $15,000 and $8,775 to the Historic Macon Foundation. The first grant will cover a photo exhibit titled “Then and Now,” which are photographs of historic Macon properties taken in past decades. The Middle Georgia Camera Club will take present-day photos from the same angles of the properties that will run side-by-side. The latter grant will bolster a community garden in Tattnall Square Heights.

• Separate grants of $3,400 and $2,200 to the InTown Neighborhood Association, covering “Movies in the Park” start-up funding and an inflatable bouncy house for events in the neighborhood.

• And $7,500 to Nancy Brown Cornett for a revitalization project on Walnut Street. It’s the first time Walnut Street has received a Knight Neighborhood Challenge Grant.

Andrew Silver, chairman of Friends of Tattnall Square Park, said his grant will allow volunteers to plant 100 trees and shrubs in the park, which he hopes will start in October.

“It it weren’t for the Knight Foundation, we’d be going door-to-door for the next 25 years trying to collect this money,” he said. “In one fell swoop, they’ve managed to transform the park.”

Beverly Blake, program director for the Knight Foundation in Georgia, said the challenge grant program has exceeded her expectations.

“It’s to help fund ideas from people who live here and embrace the place they call home,” she said. “It’s not just the plans they implement. It’s also people meeting one another and forming new relationships and friendships and having the idea that ‘we can do this for Macon.’ We’re seeing new leaders emerge. It’s a true delight. It really has been.”

Dennis said the next two rounds of grants will focus heavily on artistic projects in the corridor area.

“There will be an emphasis on public art,” she said.

The application deadline for the next round of grants is June 30. The Community Foundation will host seminars about the grants May 14 from noon-1:30 p.m. and May 15 from 5:30-7 p.m. The seminars are free and open to the public. Grant applications should be for projects that fit in with the College Hill Corridor’s master plan.

For more information, contact the Community Foundation at (478) 750-9338 or visit www.cfcga.org/knc.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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