Macon-Bibb County marked the next milestone in the development and revitalization of the Second Street Corridor: removal of the Hump Bridge, which crosses the rail line at Second Street. After brief comments by featured speakers on Wednesday, April 10, a crane removed sections of the Hump Bridge to clear the way for the new Connector to be built. Funding for this project comes from the voter-approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).
“This Connector is the next major step in providing our community and region with a walkable, bikeable corridor between East Macon-Bibb, I-16, Downtown, our hospitals, our neighborhoods, higher education, and I-75 on the south side of Downtown,” says Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert. “People will be better connected with each other and with the rejuvenation happening Downtown, which is constantly expanding to include more areas.”
“What has been happening Downtown has been great, and I’m excited to see that rejuvenation expanding toward our neighborhoods and to soon have those areas better connected to jobs, shopping, restaurants, and more,” says District 2 Commissioner Larry Schlesinger. “Better sidewalks, bike lanes, and an easy way for people to get to and from home their homes and centers of activity is a benefit for our entire community.”
“This project is a big thread that helps knit our community together. It will bring people and places together in a more safe and friendly way for walkers, cyclers and drivers,” says Chris Sheridan, Chairman of the Board for Sheridan Construction. “It’s about building community, and we are honored to be a part of that effort.”
Also, currently happening along the Second Street Corridor is the extension of the Vision Block between Poplar Street and Plum Street Lane. Funding for this extension project came from a $1.5 million grant from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB), which is a revolving infrastructure investment fund created in 2008 by Georgia legislators and administered by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA).
About the Second Street Corridor
The redevelopment and revitalization of the Second Street Corridor is a major project in Macon-Bibb County’s Forward Together Strategic Plan and is included in the Infrastructure Improvement Strategic Focus Area, while the Vision Block is a part of Safe Neighborhoods and Safe Neighborhoods Area. The creation of greenspace and parks (including MidCity Square and Pinnacle Park) will improve the Quality of Life for residents, visitors, and employees all along the Corridor.
The Second Street Corridor project was started with funding from the voter-approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), and it stretches from East Macon through Downtown, connects to Little Richard Penniman and Mercer University Boulevards, and creates gateways into Macon-Bibb at either end. Long-term, Macon-Bibb County wants to extend the Corridor further west along Mercer University Boulevard to the Macon Mall and Middle Georgia State University.
In December 2014, Macon-Bibb County reopened the block of Second Street between Cherry and Poplar Streets as a Vision Block for the Corridor to show people what will the entire street will look like. It features bike lanes, reverse angle parking, landscaping, shade trees, benches, improved sidewalks, an irrigation system, and more. In addition to the work being completed with SPLOST funds, Georgia Power, Atlanta Gas Light, and the Macon Water Authority used this opportunity to upgrade and improve its electrical system to meet the growth taking place Downtown. Click here for a MaconBibbTV feature on the Vision Block.
Macon-Bibb County is currently exploring the potential for developing Mid-City Square, a new park located at the intersection of Second and Pine Streets. Several of the properties have been purchased and the buildings have been torn down to make way for new greenspace. (Until further funding or developer are identified, the area is being leased to Navicent for parking.) Also, a new Pinnacle Park was created on Second Street in the Tindall Heights neighborhood. Located on the site of the former Boys and Girls Club, it includes a passive park with trails, benches, landscaping, and a great view of Downtown.
Using Tax Allocation District bond funding, Macon-Bibb worked with partners to build a signature pedestrian bridge over Mercer University Drive that serves as a gateway into the city. Its construction helped bring almost $50 million (and increasing) in investment to the Tindall Heights area. A connecting bridge between Second Street and Mercer University Drive has been designed and utility work has already begun to make the area ready for construction. That portion of the project is expected to begin in the next several months.
About the Forward Together Strategic Plan
In January 2014, Macon-Bibb County began working with the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government to develop the first Forward Together Strategic Plan . This process lasted more than a year and involved multiple retreats, work sessions, and meetings with department heads, organizations, and stakeholders. The planning process was funded with a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
This process helped develop the consolidated government’s new Mission and Vision statements, as well as identify five Strategic Focus areas that are helping focus service delivery, programs, and initiatives: Economic and Community Development; Safe Neighborhoods and Safe Communities; Efficient and Effective Government; Infrastructure Improvement; and Quality of Life. In September 2015, the City-County Communications & Marketing Association awarded Macon-Bibb County with a Silver Circle Award as part of its national Savvy Awards program.