COTTON AVENUE COALITION
Cotton Avenue is historically known as downtown Macon's African American business district. Located between downtown Macon and Navicent Health, the area is under extreme development pressure. In 2014, Tremont Temple and the historic Douglass House were demolished to make room for a new development that includes Dunkin' Donuts and Which Wich.
In 2015, Historic Macon published its first endangered list of properties, known as Macon's Fading Five. This list identifies properties under threat of demolition and deferred maintenance in Macon-Bibb County. Unlike other endangered lists, properties remain on Macon's Fading Five until Historic Macon's preservation committee feels that the property has been adequately stabilized or "saved." Cotton Avenue was included on the inaugural list in 2015 and remained on the list in 2016 because the committee felt there was still work to be done.
As a proactive measure, the Cotton Avenue Coalition has been formed. The Coalition is a group of community partners that work to preserve, revitalize, and celebrate the Cotton Avenue District. The Coalition consists of Historic Macon Foundation, the Macon-Bibb County Commission, the Macon Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ruth Hartley Mosley Memorial Women's Center, First Baptist Church, Holsey Temple CME Church, Steward Chapel AME Church, and Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church.
With the help of Commissioner Elaine Lucas, the group is working to make Cotton Avenue a local historic district. This designation could help prevent future demolition in the area. Additionally, the group will host events to attract community members to area to appreciate its significance in Macon's history.
Cotton Avenue Revival Festival | March 25-24, 2016
In 2016, the Coalition won a Downtown Challenge Grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to host the Cotton Avenue Revival Festival during the Cherry Blossom Festival. The purpose of the Festival is to celebrate the contributions of African Americans who have shaped downtown Macon's commercial district and to promote it as a vibrant place to visit and patronize existing businesses. The Festival is already gaining community support, evidenced by the funding won from the Downtown Challenge and most recently, being named a sanctioned Cherry Blossom event.