Benjamin Moore is going to paint the town -- or at least a block of it.
The paint company announced Monday that Macon is one of 20 cities in the U.S. and Canada to win a repainting package through its Main Street Matters contest, based on votes received between May 16 and June 30. People could vote once each day in the online contest, according to the Benjamin Moore & Co. website.
Whats particularly impressive about Macons inclusion is that the city didnt even join until about two and a half weeks into the six-week competition, according to Mechel McKinley, manager of the citys Main Street Macon program. A former intern told her about it, she said.
That is totally attributed to the fact that everybody got behind it, McKinley said.
Its a powerful statement about how much people care about Macon and want to see good things happen here that they outvoted other cities in such a short time, she said.
According to the companys website, Mayor Robert Reichert urged people to vote in the contest through a blog post and daily reminders on his Twitter account.
The block to be painted is the block of Second Street between Cherry and Poplar streets, and its one already slated for substantial work in the next few months, McKinley said.
Thats the same block designated as a vision block in Reicherts plan to redevelop Second Street as a landscaped, pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly corridor, including a curving connector between the existing downtown stretch and Little Richard Penniman Boulevard.
Under the tentative plan, the block between Cherry and Poplar streets will have its traffic lanes cut from four to two, with added landscaping and a bicycle lane. Up to $1 million is available for that work from the sales tax voters approved in November 2011, and contracts for a designer and construction manager are up for discussion by a Macon City Council committee on Tuesday.
The contest website says Benjamin Moore will provide the paint and supplies needed for facades, porches, railings, shutters and other exterior building trims, with colors chosen by experts to match local styles. Local professional painters will be hired, and area Benjamin Moore retailers will mix the paint.
It looks like theyre planning to start work before the end of the summer, McKinley said. She hopes to get tenants of buildings along that block involved in the work, which may continue until early 2014, she said.
The monetary value of the prize isnt yet known, but it should be fairly substantial, McKinley said. The company sent Macon a camera to record a video promotion as a Main Street Matters community, which must be sent back by Friday, she said.
Benjamin Moore is working with many partner groups across the country, including the Make It Right foundation created by actor Brad Pitt, according to the company.
Our Main Streets are the vital hubs of our communities -- and Benjamin Moore and our network of independent dealers have always been integral parts of Main Street, David Melancon, chief marketing officer of Benjamin Moore, said in a news release. This investment were making in communities around North America is core to our business and to who we are; Main Streets make us who we are and were proud to honor that with this effort.
Of 140 cities participating in the contest, 17 in the U.S. and three in Canada were named winners. Aside from Sanford, N.C., Macon was the only other city in the Southeast to win, McKinley said.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.