Urban Development Authority names Mercer graduate Executive Director

The Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority (UDA) recently hired Alex Morrison, former Mercer student and Cluster editor, as the new Executive Director.

Morrison, chosen out of 55 applicants during a yearlong search, will begin the position on May 2.

The authority considered merging the position with NewTown Macon, the city’s Economic Community Development Department and the Middle Georgia Regional Commission while searching for potential candidates, but decided keep the position and hire Morrison.

The UDA board ratified the vote and officially hired him on March 31.

Morrison said he has no fear or hesitation about the job. “I’m very excited to start work over there,” he said.

Morrison graduated from Mercer in 2007 with a degree in journalism and philosophy. While at Mercer, he was Editor in Chief for the Cluster for two years and one of the four students that developed the original College Hill Corridor plan.

After graduating from Mercer, Morrison attended the University of Georgia, where he then received his Master’s in Public Administration.

Even after living in Athens for two years, he has not been a stranger to the area — one week after graduating, he moved back to Macon.

Morrison was hired and began his position as the Business and Economic Specialist for the City of Macon, as well as taking on the position of Main Street Program Manager when he moved back.

He currently assists with development projects and coordinates the Main Street program, a four-point approach to downtown development.

He will be leaving this position to serve as the UDA director.

The UDA is a constitutionally created authority that is in charge of issuing bonds and pursuing development projects in the urban area.

As director, Morrison will manage day-to-day affairs and promote development projects that focus on economic growth, and preservation and rejuvenation of historic buildings.

He will also focus on recruiting new businesses to downtown, increasing residential living and buying and redeveloping properties.

“We’re really excited to take this step and make it happen downtown in a creative and new way,” he said.

Morrison said he is ready with ideas, and sees this as a great opportunity to get things off the ground for continuing development in the downtown area.

He wants to get community input on accelerating development downtown.

“One of the things we’re looking at is coming up with a master plan for Macon,” he said. “Something similar to the College Hill Corridor”.

Morrison will replace longtime UDA director Sid Cherry. Cherry has held the position for 34 years and announced his retirement over a year ago. He agreed to stay until a new director was found.