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Ward I members of Macon City Council hosted a public forum Saturday to discuss ways to bring new life to east Macon.

Council members Elaine Lucas, Rick Hutto, and Lonnie Miley led the "East Side Summit" for aroomful of concerned residents eagerto talk about their neighborhoodsat St. Paul AME Church.

"We'll have a more informed group of citizens on the east side of town, but we'll have folks that are more mobilized that to start working on behalf of maybe or even in opposition to some things that they think aren't so good for the east side," Lucas says.

Officials said the summit helps them keep residents informed by giving everyone a chance to be heard as they work together for a better future in east Macon.

"Let's see: great- and grand- together, I have 50 (grandchildren). So I'm a concerned grandmother," 73-year-old Frances Billingslea says.

Billingslea noted a lack of places for her grandchildren to play, something she hopes the elected officials at the summit will address.

"We're not focused as we should be as parents. We should be focused on the young generation because they're going to be the future," she says.

Summit members were focused primarily on economic development but also touched on education, consolidation, and road projects.

"The east side, of all the other sections, needs more because we have not has as much as some other sections," says Lucas.

Legacy Builders is a group working in east Macon on redevelopment projects in the Fort Hill and Cross Keys neighborhoods.

Their efforts will give way to a new identity for that section of town, rebranding it "Walnut Creek Village."

Successes like that are a sign of things to come--and a model for action--Lucas says.

"We can see change instantly if we have large groups of people working together to make sure that it happens," says Lucas.

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