Macon's civic pride shines across country in nationwide contest

Macon was not originally nominated for the Benjamin Moore Paint What Matters contest. Mechel McKinley, director of Main Street Macon, found out about the contest through an intern, two weeks after it had started. Through the efforts of McKinley and others, primarily through the push of social media channels, Macon was selected as one of 20 winners of the “Paint What Matters” contest.

Benjamin Moore’s website stated that Mayor Robert Reichert tweeted to followers urging them to vote, and that restaurant Dovetail posted on its Facebook page asking people to vote for Macon.

The block that is scheduled to be painted is the Second Street block in between Cherry and Poplar streets. According to Jim Gaines of “The Telegraph,” this is “the same block designated as a ‘vision block’ in Reichert’s plan to redevelop Second Street as a landscaped, pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly corridor, including a curving connector between the existing downtown stretch and Little Richard Penniman Boulevard.”

The Benjamin Moore website said “the effort will be undertaken with the help of multiple partner organizations around the country, including Make It Right, a long-time partner of Benjamin Moore that was founded by actor-philanthropist Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt will be lending his voice in support of the effort that Benjamin Moore is undertaking with Main Street Matters.”

McKinley said, “I am thrilled about the impact this award is going to have not only on the physical assets we have in downtown but on our local economy. Benjamin Moore doesn’t see this as just a coat of paint but as a full revitalization. I am looking forward to working with them on this project.”

He added, “Each community is treated as a different project and the site coordinator will work to determine exactly what work needs to take place. We have planned to work on the block of Second Street between Cherry and Poplar streets. After speaking with Benjamin Moore I learned that we will actually be able to work on two to three blocks. Add on top of that the model block of the Second Street Project and all the other revitalization we have going on and downtown is going to look amazing.”

Chris Floore, director of public affairs for the City of Macon, said, “The Paint What Matters contest showed us the tremendous amount of interest and support there is for what Mayor Reichert and the City of Macon are doing to revitalize downtown and make it a great place to live, work and play. We want our college students, after graduation, to stay in Macon and get a job, start a business and raise a family, and we are working to make sure Macon has those opportunities for them.”

Not long after finding out Macon was a winner for the Benjamin Moore contest, it was announced that Macon is nominated for another nationwide contest: the Rand McNally “Best of the Road” contest to find the best small towns in America. The categories within the contest are: most beautiful, most fun, most patriotic, friendliest, best food and best for geocaching.

Floore said, “With the growing national trend toward cities finding ways to better provide services and information through mobile devices, we could get our own iPhone app by winning the Rand McNally Best of the Road contest. To do that, we need you to vote for Macon every day until Sept. 3. Your vote could help bring Macon further in to the 21st century.”

If you want to participate in the Rand McNally contest follow these instructions from the City of Macon press release:

“To participate in the contest and make the strongest case for Macon to be selected, people can:

Vote for Macon at www.bestoftheroad.com/town/macon-ga/3168 in one of the six categories;

Leave a post on their website stating why Macon is great; and

Contact Rand McNally directly on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bestoftheroad), Twitter (@BestOfTheRoad), and Instagram (instagram.com/bestoftheroad) to let them know about Macon.”

“The Best of the Road contest gives us the chance to publicly celebrate and showcase what’s great about our city to the country. I want to encourage our entire community to vote every day and even encourage out-of-town friends and family to vote for Macon,” said Reichert. “I was thrilled to see Macon come together like it did for the Paint What Matters contest and bring improvements to the Second Street corridor. It was a testament to the passion and support for improving our City.”

McKinley said, “Colleges and universities are an important part of the fabric of the Macon community. We want all of our students to understand and appreciate the city they call home for at least a little while. Of course, we hope that some of them will decide to stay and make a life here in Macon.”