Downtown Macon will soon boast bike racks and host drum circles and a glow-in-the-dark dance party.
The projects are among 22 initiatives to be funded in the next round of the Downtown Challenge grant.
The Community Foundation of Central Georgia, which administers the grant money, announced the new initiatives during a Tuesday afternoon reception at the Library Ballroom. The $3 million, 3-year grant is funded by the Knight Foundation and the Peyton Anderson Foundation.
This is the second of six rounds of grant funds that will be awarded through 2018, according to the Community Foundation. The first phase included projects such as dog waste stations and sidewalk pianos.
Community members submitted enhancement ideas, and the chosen projects aligned with the five-year Macon Action Plan to improve economic development, experience, living and connectivity.
“(The Downtown Challenge) gives an avenue to turn the Macon Action Plan from something that is on paper to something that comes to life,” said George Abbott, the Knight Foundation’s interim program director.
Many of the projects are brand-new ideas, but a few take the planning projects from the first round to the next stage, said Alex Leahy, program officer for the Community Foundation.
“It was a very community-engaged process to come up with the plan, and now businesses, organizations and individuals are creatively coming up with ideas to make downtown better,” said Karen Lambert, president of the Peyton Anderson Foundation.
The Downtown Challenge program emphasizes what can be done to continue Macon’s progress, Lambert said. The third grant round will open in late January or early February, and idea submissions will be due March 15.
“The latest round of projects are really going to enhance the experience and the connectivity of downtown Macon and make people want to come downtown and stay downtown and enjoy the gem we have,” Leahy said. “There are 22 projects that are going to happen, and there are 22 more reasons to love downtown.”
Downtown Challenge round two projects
▪ A health care incubator at Mercer University’s Innovative Center will support early stage medical devices and health information technology initiatives — $40,000.
▪ Bike Walk Macon will install bike racks at businesses — $9,500.
▪ NewTown Macon will install two bike repair stations — $2,200.
▪ The Velocity Accelerator from Georgia Crowdfund will fast-track the growth of new businesses through 12-week training — $25,000.
▪ The Urban Development Authority will install string lights in trees along Cherry Street and Cotton Avenue — $8,000.
▪ Main Street Macon Design Committee will remove outdated and damaged signs — $10,000.
▪ Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission will install 30 recycling stations and 30 trash bins — $45,000.
▪ NewTown Macon will have a two-day, temporary pedestrian plaza on Cotton Avenue, during which part of the street will be closed and outdoor seating and yard games will be added — $20,000.
▪ The Middle Section of the Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects will create a master plan for revitalizing Poplar Yarns, using designs from University of Georgia students — $25,000.
▪ First Baptist Church will make improvements to High Street Park, including the addition of sidewalks, benches, landscaping and an amphitheater — $42,000.
▪ Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Department will make plans to improve the streetscape of Riverside Drive from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Madison Street — $85,000.
▪ Historic Macon Foundation will create a guided walking tour from local ghost stories — $2,500.
▪ Historic Macon Foundation will unveil its self-guided bike tour brochure during a free trolley tour of Macon’s industrial district — $4,000.
▪ Mainstreet Macon will hold a family-friendly, glow-in-the-dark party under the Poplar Street bridge, between Fifth and Sixth streets — $3,900.
▪ Historic Macon Foundation will bring back the Cotton Avenue Revival Festival — $10,000.
▪ The Tubman Museum will buy drums and host the Tubman Drum Circle at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of every month — $11,000.
▪ Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority will make construction plans for the Clinton Street Park — $19,200.
▪ NewTown Macon will create design plans for Downtown Macon’s gateway signs — $10,000.
▪ “Maconites: The Stories of Our People,” led by Susannah Maddux, will give personal accounts of Macon residents through a website and social media — $5,700.
▪ Downtown housing will be provided for Mercer Innovation Center fellows — $24,000.
▪ Macon Arts Alliance will create a new “Welcome to Fort Hawkins Neighborhood: Birthplace of Macon” sign at Main and Hydrolia streets — $5,000.
▪ Urban Development Authority will finish the Clinton Street aluminum pedestrian gate and vinyl-coated vehicular gate at the Ocmulgee National Monument entrance — $8,000.