Nearly 70 people gathered in the citys Rosa Parks Square early Tuesday afternoon to declare their love for Macon.
Mayor Robert Reichert proclaimed the day as I Love Macon Day, a tribute to the nearly yearlong campaign that aims to get signatures from 10,000 people stating the reasons they love the city and vow to spread a possible message whenever possible.
(The campaign) promotes the positives, the mayor said. While we recognize there are negatives, as there are with other cities, we want to do something about them. ... It is a way to remind ourselves of the positives we have. It should be an all-day, everyday event.
The I Love Macon campaign began Jan. 31, 2012, and was created by Josh Rogers, Pilar Wilder, Julia Wood, Wes Griffith and Heather Bowman Cutway, all of whom were selected as Macon Magazines Five Under 40 in 2011. The group was asked what they loved about living in Macon, which planted the seeds for the campaign.
So far, about 7,200 people have signed the pledge, and organizers hope to get the other 2,800 signatures by the Jan. 31 deadline, the one-year anniversary of the effort.
Organizers rolled out a long sheet of paper at the event to gather signatures. Theres also a website, ilovemacon.org, where people can sign the pledge.
Rogers, who is the executive director of Historic Macon, said the campaign has been a mostly grass-roots affair.
This is our last chance (to get the signatures), so we have to make it count.
Rogers said the project provides a way to boost the citys collective self-confidence.
Sometimes, people can be critical of the place they live, he said. Because people are sharing the things they love, they learn about other (positive) aspects of Macon. ... We hope this will deepen peoples love.
Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart told the crowd he hopes the day expands next year to I Love Macon and Bibb County once the two governments consolidate, along with Payne City.
I love that we passed the SPLOST, I loved that we passed consolidation, I love all of its potential, he said. I think were finally on the verge of realizing that potential.
Willie C. Brooks, who signed the pledge Tuesday, said he loves most of what the city showcases.
I love the entertainment, and theres some history here, he said. Folks can come in and see what we have to offer. I love the weather. ... I love the race relations. Im not satisfied with the crime. Once we get the crime under control, Macon will be a doubly nice place to live.
Peg Jones, who also signed the pledge, had a long list of what she likes about living here.
Churches, Nu-Ways, architecture, music -- theres so much to love, she said. People need to enjoy it and appreciate it.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.