Macon City Council voted 11-1 Tuesday to approve two contracts, totaling $1.4 million, for design and construction contracts on two features of Mayor Robert Reicherts plan to redevelop Second Street. Councilman Virgil Watkins voted against both resolutions, while councilmen Tom Ellington, Charles Jones and Larry Schlesinger were absent.
The agreements with design firm T.Y. Lin International and construction manager Chris R. Sheridan & Co. are for work on a vision block between Cherry and Poplar streets, and a new curving connector to link Second Street with Little Richard Penniman Boulevard.
We are thrilled and excited to finally be starting with the final design and construction of the Second Street corridor, Reichert said afterward. This will revitalize the south end of downtown as well as neighborhoods to the south.
During the meeting, Councilwoman Elaine Lucas -- who has frequently opposed elements of the Second Street plan -- said she liked contractors intention to break the work into small portions so smaller local and minority-owned businesses have a better chance at winning subcontracts. But she doesnt see the project as promoting balanced development, she said.
We want to see these kinds of things done in the entire city of Macon, Lucas said.
Reichert said the redevelopment will lead to spillover benefits in surrounding neighborhoods, including Lucas east Macon, as well as aiding an area that already employs people from all parts of town.
We have to start somewhere, and downtown is everybodys downtown, he said.
The special purpose local option sales tax voters approved in November 2011 included $8 million for the first phase of turning Second Street into a landscaped, pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly corridor, including the Penniman connector and cutting traffic lanes on the Cherry-Poplar block from four to two, landscape the sidewalks and put in a bicycle lane.
The resolutions approved Tuesday are for a $576,000 design contract with the Atlanta office of T.Y. Lin International, and an $854,212 contract for local firm Chris R. Sheridan & Co. to serve as construction manager,
But Reichert said Second Street isnt the end of the plan. Once that is done -- and maybe over the course of the next 30 years -- he wants to see development of a matching north-south connector. No exact route has been selected, but in concept it would follow Riverside Drive from near Bass Pro Shops on the north end to Terminal Station downtown, then eventually on south to Robins Air Force Base, he said.
A resolution allowing Bragg Jam patrons to carry open alcoholic-beverage containers downtown from 5 p.m.-midnight during the July 27 music festival got 12-0 council approval.
It includes the stipulation that Bragg Jam will pay for security and cleanup. Keith Moffett, assistant to the chief administrative officer, has said cleanup will begin at 3 a.m. Sunday.
Kiron Johnson likewise got 12-0 consent to run the snack bar at the citys Bowden Golf Course, now dubbed JTS Dawghouse Grill to recognize a frequent golfer, City Council President James Timley. Johnson will be able to operate it rent-free for one year, with subsequent annual rent set at 10 percent of his first years revenue, according to the contract.
But the absence of a ventilator hood keeps fresh food from being cooked at the on-site grill, so Johnson will have to bring in most items pre-made. In committee discussion, several council members said the city should install a ventilator hood, especially since its been very difficult to find someone willing to run the snack bar.
After approving Johnsons contract, council agreed to send a resolution from councilmen Ed DeFore and Lonnie Miley, asking the city to make necessary repairs at the grill, to the Community Resources & Development Committee for discussion.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.