Basic ideas are emerging for how to redevelop various segments of Second Street, as consultants work on plans to create a spine linking Macon landmarks.
A group led by CHA/Huntley Partners, hired to develop a plan for Second Street, held public meetings over five days to gather public input.
On Tuesday evening those preliminary results were brought together in a presentation at the downtown Armory Ballroom, the scene of most of those meetings.
It isnt intended to be a final plan. Its intended to be what weve learned from you all to date, said Daniel Foth, CHA vice president.
About 70 people listened, including Mayor Robert Reichert, several Macon City Council members, city department heads, representatives of various local agencies and interest groups, and some members of the general public.
More public meetings will be held in neighborhoods from Tindall Heights and Bealls Hill all the way over to Second Streets other end in east Macon, and a final design will be ready next March, Foth said. That will involve more than just a pretty plan, including ideas on financing and implementing the work, he said.
The special purpose local option sales tax that voters passed last November includes $8 million to build a connector between Second Street and Little Richard Penniman Boulevard.
The redirected Second Street will connect Coliseum Medical Center, the Macon Coliseum and convention center on the east side of the Ocmulgee River with downtown, The Medical Center of Central Georgia and Mercer University in a continuous corridor. Over several years, Reichert wants to turn that stretch into a pedestrian-friendly landscaped showpiece lined with shops and offices, with development spilling over to surrounding areas.
Planners Craig Clements and Christian Sottile said proposals for the two-mile stretch are tentative. But what they drew from days of public discussion and on-the-ground study is that several distinct character areas exist on Second, each of which could be handled differently, Sottile said.
All along its course, however, Foth said the downtown concentration of jobs make a circulating bus or streetcar route feasible.
Planners are aiming for complete streets, as called for in the city request for proposals, easily usable by not only motorists but also public transit riders, bicyclists and walkers of any age.
The east end of Second Street can be a strong entranceway for Macon, but it needs sidewalks over the river bridge and better access to the parks on each bank, Sottile said.
In the blocks that run through the heart of downtown, street right-of-way is particularly wide, allowing for various types of traffic and lines of trees, he said. The classic buildings along that stretch, though many are empty, are ripe for rehabilitation, Sottile said.
Just west of the central district is so much gray, blocks of old buildings and parking lots that once housed automotive-related businesses. Sottile said people repeatedly asked to turn that area green.
Clements said theres a great chance to build a new mid-city square on all four corners of Pine Street and Second, serving as a hub for Medical Center employees with new development around the parklike squares rim.
There are varying ideas on how Second should connect to Penniman, Sottile said. In some the notorious hump bridge would remain but would carry slower and far less traffic. In others, only a new bridge on the connector itself would cross the railroad tracks, but in any plan the aim would be to create slow-moving, tree-lined streets with sidewalks through the residential areas.
In all versions of that segment, however, the hilltop location of the former water tower just past the bridge is shown as becoming a new park, perhaps with a community center for Tindall Heights.
To contact writer Jim Gaines call 744-4489.