We’re proud to be a part of a progressive community that’s leading the nation in innovative public-private partnerships. Historic Macon Foundation and Knight Foundation have created a unique funding tool that will serve as a national model for neighborhood revitalization. Knight Foundation’s $3 million investment is a combination of grant and loan funds. This model works for Macon because we’re building on a proven track record of success.
Macon’s historic architecture spans from the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds to antebellum mansions to the homes of legends of Southern rock and blues. But to the people of Macon, historic preservation is more than saving the grand antebellum structures of the wealthy; it’s a way to put homes with good bones back to use while enhancing the walkability and livability of our neighborhoods.
One of Macon’s oldest neighborhoods, Beall’s Hill, has been a model for community revitalization efforts. Historic Macon has been working in the neighborhood since 2007 when it joined with the city of Macon, Macon Housing Authority, Mercer University and Knight Foundation. Knight awarded Historic Macon almost $800,000, which enabled the completion of 22 house rehabilitations over the course of five years, more than double the number promised in the original grant application.
But there’s still work to be done. The recent $3 million investment from Knight Foundation will allow us to finish our work in Beall’s Hill, ensuring its long-term viability. Beall’s Hill is the most racially and economically diverse neighborhood in the region, which makes the neighborhood attractive to new residents. Plus, its close proximity to Mercer University and Navicent Health, the second-largest hospital in the state, makes it desirable for attracting Mercer professors and hospital staffers. Neighbors walk their children to Alexander II, Georgia’s first magnet school, and meet for yoga in Tattnall Square Park. Plus, the neighborhood is an easy walk or bike trip to Macon’s burgeoning downtown and the thriving College Hill Corridor.
At Historic Macon our work will ramp up considerably in the next year. Between building and rehabilitating 15 to 18 houses a year; making façade and energy efficiency loans; and working with Mercer to fund the down payment assistance program, we’ll be fulfilling our mission to revitalize our community by preserving architecture and sharing history. It may sound overwhelming, but we are honored and humbled to be a part of the next phase—and the final phase!—to revitalize Beall’s Hill.
Ethiel Garlington is executive director of the Historic Macon Foundation and Emily Hopkins is the special events and marketing coordinator.