Washington Park sign first of several planned for College Hill

pramati@macon.comMay 10, 2013 

Washington_Sign

Jessica Walden, of College Hill Alliance, watches Macon Mayor Robert Reichert, center, and Jonathan Dye, right, unveil the new sign Friday in Washington Park in Macon.

GRANT BLANKENSHIP/THE TELEGRAPH — gblankenship@macon.com Buy Photo

As Mayor Robert Reichert noted Friday, Macon was founded on the idea of being “a city within a park.”

So it seemed only appropriate that new signage created by a Knight Neighborhood Challenge Grant should highlight one of the city’s oldest parks.

The College Hill Alliance unveiled a new monumental sign Friday afternoon at Washington Park, the first of several signs that will be placed in the College Hill Corridor over the next several months thanks to a $132,000 grant awarded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“The city-in-a-park idea goes back to the very genesis of (Macon’s beginnings),” Reichert said. “The more things change, the more they stay the same. We want to incorporate green space into an urban environment.”

The sign is located at the corner of College Street and Washington Avenue, facing Washington Memorial Library.

The signage is designed to mark notable points in the corridor for visitors to the neighborhood, said Jessica Walden, the alliance’s director of communications. In addition to the Washington Park sign, future signage plans include two more monumental signs in Tattnall Square Park, 15 directional signs throughout the corridor and at least four map kiosks in the neighborhood, she said.

“These are prime pedestrian areas,” Walden said.

Sarah Gerwig-Moore, who applied for the grant in 2011 when she was serving as co-chairwoman of the College Hill Corridor Commission, said she was pleased to see the first sign in Washington Park.

“I’ve always wanted the first piece unveiled here, because it’s so visible,” Gerwig-Moore said. “I hope it builds goodwill for the rest of the signs. This is the best way to start out.”

The sign was designed by Jim and Mary-Frances Burt, and Bibb County engineer Bill Causey oversaw the installation process. About a quarter of the rocks used in the sign’s design were collected from Washington Park.

Causey said the process to install it began in February, and the sign includes small lights in front of it.

Julia Wood, director of donor services for the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, said the signage is important in highlighting the city to visitors. The foundation administers the Knight Neighborhood Challenge grants.

“This is the way we’re truly going to brand the corridor and direct visitors to the assets of the community while keeping with the roots of our history,” she said.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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