Empty sidewalks and closed up buildings are not the sights Macon Mayor Robert Reichert wants to see along Second Street.
He says, "I see people window shopping at retail establishments that are all along the street. I see people having a meal at a sidewalk cafe. I see beautiful architecture and green spaces."
Huntley Partners and CHA Company revealed their ideas to make Reichert's vision come true.
They say their plan could bring in more than 7,000 new jobs over a 25-year period. Those jobs will stem from growth in medical, industrial, retail, and residential areas, but all of that expansion will come with a heavy price tag.
"We do have the tax allocation district in place, so that's a potential source of some significant funds. There's about eight million dollars in the SPLOST budget for the Second Street corridor redevelopment. So, there are already some things that are in place that are committed. A lot of this is going to come from private funding if it's successful," says Macon city council member Tom Ellington.
The plan estimates those private investors will make a $1.3 billion impact within 25 years, but Walter Huntley says finding that kind of money won't be the city's only challenge.
"We've got a lot of land area, 700 plus acres, and basically what we want to do is identify some catalytic projects that can get development and investment rolling," he says.
Researchers say Macon already has a good infrastructure, but Reichert believes the plan will turn Second Street into the spine of the city.
Huntley Partners and CHA Company will spend the next nine months hammering out details like how much each step will cost and what the redeveloped area will look like. They will also discuss the pros and cons of using a street car or a bus system to connect Macon's major landmarks.