Macon agencies that deal with housing, education, transportation, health care and employment have joined forces to help revitalize the neighborhood around the Tindall Heights development.
There were more than 300 respondents to surveys conducted in person and through mailings, and that information will be used to adopt strategies to improve the neighborhood, located near the south end of Mercer University’s campus.
The surveys tie into an application for the third phase of the Tindall redevelopment, which includes 65 multifamily housing units. Tax credits through the Department of Community Affairs will be awarded this year as part of a competitive process with other proposed developments across the state.
On Saturday, residents who live in the neighborhood surrounding the demolished Tindall Heights development are invited to a gathering in which the survey findings will be unveiled. Residents will be able to offer suggestions again and have an opportunity for fellowship, with food and games.
The Tindall Fields celebration, hosted by the United Way of Central Georgia and the Macon-Bibb County Housing Authority, will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Buck Melton Community Center, 150 Sessions Drive.
“We’re trying to determine what are action-based things that we can implement to be able to have a transformational impact on the lives of those that live in the area,” said Anthony Hayes, president and CEO of In-Fill Housing, the nonprofit arm of the Macon-Bibb County Housing Authority. “The goal is not to come up with a thousand things we’re trying to solve, but three to four measurable things.”
The process started back in January when Mayor Robert Reichert and County Commissioner Bert Bivins helped convene a group of agencies in the particular areas. Among the participants, along with The United Way and housing authority, were the Bibb County Board of Education, Navicent Health, Mercer University, Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, the Macon-Bibb County Health Department and the Middle Georgia Regional Commission.
Some of the initiatives could be replicated in other neighborhoods over time.
“It’s one thing to survey the area and find out what they need and another to have the agencies and organizations that can implement the changes,” Hayes said.
One of the concerns that residents raised during a community meeting was access to public transportation, said June Parker, executive director of the housing authority.
“Public transportation was very important,” she said. “It affects their ability to get to their jobs, school, and health care (facilities).”
After opening in 1940 as a segregated public housing development for black families, Tindall Heights became obsolete over the decades. Among the people who once lived in the development was soul legend Otis Redding, who spent much of his childhood there.
The former housing development has been demolished as part of the proposed four-phase redevelopment plan.
Construction has started on the first phase of what will be Tindall Senior Towers. And construction is anticipated to start this fall on the second phase of the new Tindall Fields development — which includes plans for 64 family apartments.
The final two phases will include a total of 130 multifamily units. Once completed, the density of Tindall will be reduced from 412 to 270 residential units.
Former Tindall Heights residents will have an opportunity to live in the new housing development.
“It will be somewhere that people will want to come to live,” Parker said. “It will have state of the art with all the amenities. It will look like similar to Tattnall Place,” the 97-unit, mixed-use development built on the site of the former Oglethorpe Homes.
The first section of Tindall Fields will be eight two-story flats with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. They will have amenities such as central heating and air conditioning systems, and there will be handicapped accessible units, both features not offered when Tindall Heights was originally built.
There also are plans for 8.5 acres of commercial development near Tindall Fields.
“We’re really excited about the process,” Mayor Robert Reichert said of the neighborhood survey. “The final step is to get this transformation phase approved by the (County Commission) as part of the urban redevelopment plan.”