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Community leaders meet to discuss combating problems such as crime, gangs

A group of political and community leaders met Wednesday, with an aim to learn what the needs are for different neighborhoods across Macon and to work to improve them.

The session came about after a conversation between Warren Selby, the chairman of CrimeStoppers, and Al Tillman, the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People president, as a means to combat the various problems neighborhoods in Macon and Bibb County are facing, from crime and gangs to unemployment.

Selby said the idea is to identify ordinary people in different neighborhoods who will step up to represent their streets by bringing forth problems the neighborhood is facing. Meanwhile, community leaders are hoping to organize various resources to help the neighborhoods out.

"We're going to list all the issues of concern within the community and find the resources to help out," Selby said. "But the people (in the communities) have to solve these problems."

Tillman said during the meeting, which included Macon Mayor Robert Reichert, representatives from Macon police, the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department, the Bibb County Sheriff's Office, the board of education and others, that too often, the community gets bogged down in talking about issues but not taking enough action.

"It's time to stop blaming anybody, to stop talking and start doing," Tillman said during the meeting, which was held at the Bloomfield Recreation Center.

As a result, it was decided to hold a citywide get-together Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. at the Evangelical Liberty Christian Church at 4290 Houston Ave. so that the various officials can meet with concerned residents from around Macon and recruit them to help improve their neighborhoods.

Read more on this story in Thursday's Telegraph and at macon.com.

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