Second Street plans for a makeover

Plans to redevelop Second Street in downtown Macon, are in the works. Consultants from CHA and Huntley Partners gathered public opinions in order to get a head start on how Second Street should be redesigned. Meetings were held at the Armory Ballroom on First Street for five consecutive days. The consultants compiled ideas from local residents, business owners, and community leaders to see how the Macon community wants to redevelop the area.
After gathering ideas from the public and creating a plan, a meeting and formal presentation were held to exhibit the possible changes.
Following the days of meetings, a group of about 70 people, including public citizens, city department officials, local interest group members, Macon City Council members, and Mayor Robert Reichert, came to view the presentation to see the preliminary plans.
Daniel Foth, CHA vice president, announced that these were the plans that the company had fashioned from the input of people of Macon thus far. Foth told “The Telegraph,” “There will be more meetings in the local neighborhoods surrounding Second Street until a final plan has been made.”
Craig Clements and Christian Sottile, planners for the project, note that the plans are still in the works but should be finalized by March of 2013. This plan will also encompass details of financing the project and executing the construction.
A part of the funds for the project of redesigning Second Street will come from the Special-purpose Local-option Sales Tax that was voted for last year and will include a connector to Little Richard Penniman Boulevard. The connection would allow the people to reach the Coliseum Medical Center, the Macon Coliseum, the Ocmulgee River’s east side convention center, downtown Macon, the Medical Center of Central Georgia, and Mercer University within one stretch of road.
To further the development of this connection, Mayor Reichert has plans over the next couple of years to make this area more “pedestrian-friendly,” as Gaines puts it. This would include landscaping as well as adding shops and offices that would eventually lead to the development of the surrounding area.
The idea of this development is to create “complete streets” which are easily accessible for cars, transportation vehicles and local pedestrians. For Second Street, these kinds of improvements would include constructing sidewalks, buildings, and increasing easier access to the parks.
The fact that Second Street runs east to west and through downtown makes it a great start for redevelopment and revitalization in Macon. There are many old, empty, and abandoned buildings running along Second Street that could be renovated for new opportunities or removed to create more eco-friendly areas. This would lead to “regeneration” for the downtown Macon area.
Even though ideas vary and the plans for the redesigning of Second Street are still in the works, one conclusion has been drawn so far. That is, the street will be lined with greenery and sidewalks will be put in. There is also talk of creating a new park and community center near Tindall Heights. With all of these developments, Second Street will become the spine of Macon as a major connection to all the city’s areas and attractions.