Macon-Bibb County celebrated the extension of the Second Street Corridor Vision Block with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Thursday, October 10, at the corner of Second and Plum Streets. Work on this project began in January and extended the Vision Block from Poplar Street (where it previously ended) to where the future MidCity Square would begin. The extension now includes new sidewalks and lighting, crosswalks, storm drainage, benches and landscaping, bicycle lanes, turn lanes for vehicles, and more.

 

“We continue to see more revitalization and businesses opening along the original portion of the Vision Block, and we are looking forward to seeing that continue along Second Street,” says Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert. “We, along with many of our partners, have created several centers of activity throughout the city, and we are now working to bring them together with more walkable, bikeable connections.”

 

“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,” said 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.”

 

Funding for this economic development and public safety 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).

 

Macon-Bibb was one of 22 local and state governments, and Community Improvement Districts, to receive about $23.6 million for transportation infrastructure projects. 41 applications were submitted for this competitive grant process that provides funding from the GTIB for capital expenses related to road and bridge infrastructure projects. Criteria for grant selection included: transportation, engineering, and economic merit; local, state, and federal matching funds; and project specific like phase and feasibility.

 

Another Second Street Corridor project currently underway is the construction of the bridge which will connect Second Street to Little Richard Penniman Boulevard. In April, the aging “hump bridge” was removed to make way for construction.  To see pictures from that removal, click here.

 

“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.”

 

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. 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.