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Blight, SPLOST funds improving neighborhood park

Blight, SPLOST funds improving neighborhood park

In its ongoing effort to improve parks and greenspace throughout the community, Macon-Bibb County has begun a major improvement project at Henry Burns Park, located at the corner of Ingleside and Ridge Avenues. A groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of the project will be held at the Park on Wednesday, May 17, at 10:00 a.m.
 
Once complete, the neighborhood will have two new playgrounds to replace the old one, new erosion walls that will also be places for people to sit and relax, new benches more parking and a wider driveway, new lighting, and new lighting. The tennis courts will also be resurfaced. Drainage and erosion issues are being addressed during this project, as well. The Boy Scout hut located on the property is also slated to remain, and it is being leased to the Citizens of Ingleside, Inc. to be used as a multi-purpose community meeting center.   

This $709,250 project is being paid for with Blight Remediation Program funds from District 9 ($100,000), District 1 ($175,000), District 4 ($300,000), and the proceeds from the sale of the Alexander IV School facility, which was purchased with District 4 funds. There is also $43,000 from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) allocated to this project.
 
“We recognized that enough wasn’t allotted in the current SPLOST by the former governments to do what was needed here, and I want to thank my fellow Commissioners for finding the funds to really make a difference in this neighborhood,” says District 9 Commissioner Al Tillman. “This is just one more park improvement and attack on blight that we can attribute to the consolidated government seeing a need and working to find a solution.”
 
“Between this project and the redevelopment of, we are fighting blight on two fronts in this neighborhood by improving Henry Burns Park and helping redevelop the Alexander IV School facility,” says District 4 Commissioner Mallory Jones. “I want to thank the residents for being engaged with this project and Historic Macon for leading the redevelopment effort.”
 
“Henry Burns Park has served the Ingleside community for decades, and this is our chance to recognize its historic nature and help make it a great place for decades to come,” says District 1 Commissioner Gary Bechtel. “Without the SPLOST and the blight bonds, none of this would have been possible, so credit must be given to the voters and the Commission that made it happen.”
 
Featured speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony will include Commissioners Al Tillman, Mallory Jones, and Gary Bechtel; Mayor Robert Reichert; Parks & Recreation Director Reggie Moore; Jefferey Monroe, Chair of the SPLOST Advisory Committee; Charles Green with WM2A; and representatives from the neighborhood. The firm that designed this project was WM2A, and the contractor doing the work is Ogles Construction.
 
Previously, about $95,000 in SPLOST funds were used to repair stormwater through the center of the Park, and to deal with some of the erosion and drainage issues.