The Macon Action Plan, originally published in October 2015, is back for a five-year update. Since the completion of the first plan for Macon’s Urban Core, Downtown has seen $5 million in foundation grants, and over $400 million of additional public and private investment in Downtown. Eighty percent of the strategies from the original plan have been implemented.
The Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority [UDA], the City of Macon, and their partners are undertaking this REFRESH of the original plan, looking at what’s next for Downtown Macon over the next five years. To jumpstart this process, a new Downtown Challenge is opening on January 22, 2020. Click here for more details.
Thank you, thank you to everyone who read the Draft Macon Action Plan! We appreciate all of the positive feedback, as well as your thoughtful comments and suggestions for strengthening our plan. We are happy to announce that the roadmap for the future of Macon’s Urban Core has been edited to reflect the last round of community input, and MAP is now complete! Next up? Implementation… ready, set, ACTION!
Macon Action Plan (MAP) is a comprehensive, community-driven, plan that envisions the future of Macon’s Urban Core. The Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority received generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Peyton Anderson Foundation to fund this effort to plan for our collective future. Facilitated by the Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority, Macon-Bibb County, and their partners, MAP is our roadmap to guide change and decision making in coming years.
Progress since 2015
The original Macon Action Plan was approved in October 2015. It summarized a year-long planning process, and because the A in MAP is for Action, the MAP movement began with a running start towards implementing the plan’s recommendations. With funding for many of the projects provided by the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation – each organization providing $1.5 million in support – and the dedication of the Urban Development Authority and its partners, 95 of the over 120 recommended strategies have either been completed or are underway.
In looking at Downtown today versus five years ago, Downtown is visibly more vibrant, with more people in town on a daily basis, and more things to do. Since 2015, 602 promotional events have taken place, bringing along at least 111,950 attendees. These programming efforts have amounted to over 9,000 volunteer hours. 129 Downtown Challenge projects have been funded. The food scene is booming as well; the Urban Core has welcomed 56 new restaurants, 40 or so in Downtown proper, along with 31 new bars and venues. One of the favorite new additions to the Downtown scene is the Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza, drawing over 250,000 visitors per year to see hundreds of thousands of lights along Poplar Street tied to music during the holiday season.
The local economy is doing better, too, as Downtown remains the economic hub of the region. Since 2015, 305 new jobs have been created, and 74 new businesses have opened. The County is seeing an increase in net business tax and real estate tax revenue from recent growth. Only five percent of the population in the Urban Core (about 440 residents) lived Downtown according to the 2010 US Census but since 2015, 360 new housing units have been added. This marks a big shift, and will be captured in this year’s 2020 Census [we’re looking forward to seeing the findings!]. Downtown will also soon be welcoming two new hotels, scheduled to open by the end of the year.
While Downtown has made a lot of progress, there’s still some work to do. Twenty percent of the parcel area in the Urban Core remains vacant. And, while recent investment has spurred new residential units, the population of residents living in the Urban Core is still 60% of what it was in 1960. Continuing to revitalize Downtown will not only increase revenue to support services throughout the County, it will fuel economic growth and work to create a vibrant Downtown for all Bibb County residents and visitors alike.
The Macon Action Plan [MAP] is in its first phase. The planning team is busy learning about Macon’s urban core, both past and present. They are talking to stakeholders and taking notes, conducting research and making maps.
A comprehensive analysis of economic development, housing, transportation and parking, land use, open space, infrastructure, and other topics is necessary to identify the key issues and opportunities facing Macon’s Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. A thorough understanding of these topics and issues will include careful examination of how they affect all of us: residents, business and property owners, employees, leaders, advocates, students, and visitors of Macon.
Why are we working on a plan for Macon's "Urban Core"?
The "Urban Core" refers to Downtown Macon and nearby neighborhoods. The urban core is where the City was first established, and it remains a center of employment, entertainment, and institutions, as well as home to a collection of historic and diverse neighborhoods and communities. The urban core is the heart of Macon.
The heart of Macon, GA is built on a legacy of historic buildings...
The second phase of the planning process will look forward, considering what the next decade and beyond can and should bring for Macon’s urban core. MAP will unite neighbors and stakeholders under a cohesive vision, create a roadmap for future redevelopment in Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, and showcase our city as a prime opportunity for reinvestment. MAP will create strategies to realize the full potential of the heart of Macon by maximizing private investment, sustaining the historic mix of land uses, and connecting people with each other in a beautiful place to live, work, and play. YOU are a critical part of establishing a shared vision and roadmap for the future of Macon’s urban core. Learn about ways to participate here.
A is for Action
The A in MAP is for Action, now. There’s no need to wait until the plan is complete. Indeed, positive change is afoot in Macon’s urban core, and it’s that change that the Macon Action Plan builds upon. Current efforts by Macon-Bibb County elected officials and agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, institutions, and individual community members, alike, are already turning inspiration into reality, implementing ideas from previous planning efforts and introducing new ideas that the community stands behind.
Macon Action Plan at work already!
Check out the recent tree well plantings on Cherry Street.
View the Open House presentation
What's your experience of Macon's urban core?
How would you like Downtown and nearby neighborhoods to change or stay the same? What are your ideas, big and small? We want to know. It is time to share your thoughts and show the heart of your City some love!
Why? Public input from you and your neighbors, family, and friends will form the cornerstone of the Macon Action Plan [MAP] and our collective vision for the future and roadmap to guide change in the urban core. Your creativity and participation in this forward-thinking planning process will elevate awareness and excitement about Macon and help create the best outcome for the plan. Macon needs progressive action and a progressive vision driven by those most familiar with the issues and opportunities faced by the urban core. Your local expertise is essential for proactive thinking about how best to capitalize on the local culture and assets, promote the local economy, and accommodate new investment.