The advisory council working on making Macon-Bibb County more age-friendly is working on its initiatives, and those are likely to be part of other projects, some already under way.
The group met Tuesday morning at the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce.
Myrtle Habersham, AARP key volunteer for Macon and Bibb County, emphasized this is the first community in the United States to join the worldwide network, sponsored by AARP and the World Health Organization. But that recognition comes with a local commitment to take practical steps toward making this area more welcoming to senior citizens in all spheres of life.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said he hopes the group doesnt plan in isolation but also seeks input on features of ongoing construction projects.
AARP-inspired ideas are already going into improvements on grant-funded work in Tattnall Square Park, he said.
We have incorporated into that plan a lot of what Dan Burden dreamed about, and hoped might be done sometime in the future, Reichert said. Burden, from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, toured the park in August to suggest changes at the AARPs behest.
The changes to College Street by the park include the citys first roundabout, at the corner of Oglethorpe Street. That will comply with the complete streets policy Macon City Council adopted to serve walkers, bikers and other forms of transportation besides cars, Reichert said.
Andrew Silver, chairman of the Friends of Tattnall Square Park volunteer group, said 215 new trees have been planted in the park instead of the originally planned 160, thanks to additional donations. The Knight Neighborhood Challenge grant that funded the initial planting spurred many more donors, he said. Now the group is seeking another $100,000 grant for a new park gateway and wide AARP-friendly trail through the trees, Silver said.
Other age-friendly features such as good lighting, lots of green space and easily-accessible public transit -- first buses, then a streetcar -- are to be incorporated in the revitalized Second Street corridor, said Daniel Foth, vice president of CHA Consulting.
The Second Street corridor, which Reichert has promoted for several years, is intended to 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.
A revised plan extends to Gray Highway, Foth said.
That two-mile stretch should become a live-work-play kind of corridor, in which residents could meet their basic needs without having a car, he said.
The latest version of the plan will be presented to Macon City Council in February, Foth said. In it, the planned connector between Second Street and Little Richard Penniman Boulevard has been altered to follow existing streets as closely as possible, minimizing impact on surrounding neighborhoods, he said.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.