A number of people and organizations were honored Wednesday night following tours held in downtown Macon to showcase some recently completed projects and other projects underway.
NewTown Macon President/CEO Josh Rogers said after the Tour of Progress that downtown revitalization had taken several leaps and bounds during the past year. NewTown has led the revitalization efforts and it recognized with awards some of the “partners in progress” in downtown Macon.
The awards and the winners are:
▪ Juanita Jordan Community Service Award: BID Committee, a volunteer committee that has since 2015 been committed to using their resources to raise awareness on why passing a downtown Business Improvement District was important. In May, 2017 the BID passed, which will allow private solutions to public problems.
▪ Emerging Partner Award: Bike Walk Macon, a new organization whose efforts include the adoption of the “complete streets” policy, hosting commuter meetups and community bike rides and recently installing new bike racks downtown.
▪ Downtown Ambassador Award: Downtown Macon Community Association, which is characterized as a positive force for downtown. The award goes to an individual or organization acting as a representative or promoter of downtown. The nominee may encourage the community to visit, live, shop or re-create downtown.
▪ Emerging Leader Award (tie): Marlon Baldwin, who is a counselor for Macon-Bibb’s Youth Leadership Program and a mentor and board member with the Mentor’s Project. Also he, along with the Macon Arts Alliance, will commission a mural at Terminal Station.
▪ Emerging Leader Award (tie): Jake Hall, who led his church to focus on re-engaging downtown residents. The church began its Beer and Hymns event, Hall hosts a radio show Sunday mornings on The Creek and he and some church members volunteered at the Pints for Prostates Beer Festival.
▪ The 360-Degree Award: Downtown Challenge Fund, which was created to implement the Macon Action Plan through a series of grants. Since 2015, the fund has awarded 67 grants which has helped economic development, improved downtown social life, advocated for new residents and improved connectivity and mobility in Macon’s urban core.
▪ Award for Creating a Sense of Place: Macon-Bibb County Parks and Recreation Department has helped transform downtown public spaces. Its movie series in Central City Park and Rosa Parks Square has created a family friendly entertainment option for residents. Also, it has hosted a skating tournament at the new skate park.
▪ Award for Increasing Residents: Dot Ridley, owner and operator of Dot’s Forget Me Knots, reopened the storefront last month after updating the store and adding two large two-bedroom apartments on the upper floors, which are already leased.
▪ Award for Growing Jobs: Chrissy Lee and Vincent Eiszner for the expansion of their restaurant group, and who most recently bought the Roasted Cafe & Lounge on Second Street with plans to reopen. The award is given to individuals, a businesses or organization strengthening the quantity and quality of jobs in the downtown area. This year the award is given in the memory of Commander Bryan Blair who died earlier this year. He had owned and operated Blair Furniture, a fourth-generation family business.