College Hill welcomes new director

Director of Milledgeville’s Digital Bridges Project, Heather Holder, became the new College Hill Alliance Executive Director Jan. 9, after Patrick Madison’s resignation two months prior.
Holder attended Georgia College and State University where she received a B.A. in History and a Master’s degree in Public Administration.
During her undergraduate education she served as attorney general and president of the school’s Student Government Association.
The new director has a Senior Georgia Downtown Development Professional Certification from the Fanning Institute and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
She was also a board member of the Georgia Downtown Association.
Holder first became involved with College Hill Corridor when she was on the planning board for the project.
The Knight Foundation gave Mercer University a grant in the amount of $2 million to develop the project.
“I come from a community and economic development background, but nobody’s ever tried to combine the two of them at the same time,” said Holder. “I think that we’ve seen incredible results.”
Holder served as the executive vice president of NewTown Macon in 2008 and the executive director of Milledgeville Main Street.
Holder was then named director of the Digital Bridges Project, a program founded at Georgia College and State University by a Knight Foundation grant to help combat digital illiteracy and promote innovative uses of technology.
The Director of Communications and Outreach for College Hill, Jessica Walden said, “To be able to get a director to our organization that doesn’t have much of a learning curve, and who is able to jump right into it has been really exciting for us.”
Holder plans to start a new initiative called Jump Start America to facilitate the growth the local economy and businesses in the area.
“The hope is that we can inspire investment to create jobs within the region.
Those jobs can then get people to live in College Hill to support and stabilize the community here,” said Holder.
This initiative is focused on keeping college students in the area after they graduate in order to stimulate growth within the community.
Holder said, “There is so much potential to truly impact not only this community, but how people look at urban planning and community planning as a whole.”
She believes that the branding of College Hill was a major factor in its success from the beginning.
The area was designated as a unique place and given a special symbol through its branding process.
The swirls on the insignia of the College Hill sign represent a design found on some of the historic sidewalks in Macon.
In recognition of College Hill’s brand, Walden said there is “a little bit of Mercer and a little bit of Macon history in it.”
When comparing College Hill Corridor with her previous project, Holder said, “This project was focused on the community and revitalization as a whole.
The Digital Bridges Project was working more on use of technology and integration of technology to help the community as a whole.”
While these projects differ, the new director’s experience with Digital Bridges has been used to create the website
The site was made to assist local businesses in the Macon area.
The new director’s first event, Mardi Gras Mercer, will be held Feb. 12, in Mercer Village.