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'A better place for people to linger': Macon-Bibb makes pitch for green space expansion on Cotton Avenue

Alex Morrison with the Urban Development Authority says it may help downtown businesses.

MACON, Ga. — Downtown Macon may soon look a bit greener.

Macon-Bibb Commissioners want to expand the green space on Cotton Avenue and 2nd Street to make it more walkable. Their plans include a seating area and trees to give people a spot to rest as they explore downtown.

The plaza's seen a lot of change since they moved the Confederate statue back in June. Now, the county hopes adding more green space will generate more green for businesses in downtown Macon.

Tabitha Sewell wears a few different hats when she's on the clock at Z-Beans downtown.

"I make coffee. I make food. I drink a lot of coffee," Sewell laughed.

That's the life of any barista on the job. It's not the endless supply of coffee that keeps Sewell going on her long shifts, though. It's the people.

"Meeting so many types of different people is always wonderful," she said. "Finding those little connections or something to talk about is always really fun, and I really enjoy it. I've made a lot of really interesting friends working here and at the other locations."

Sewell may soon have more friends walking in to place an order. That's if Macon-Bibb commissioners approve plans this week to expand the green space on Cotton. Alex Morrison with the Urban Development Authority says making the area more walkable may help Z-Beans and other downtown businesses.

"Having a better pedestrian area and gathering spot specifically at that key intersection is something that we imagine will be a better place for people to linger, spend more time in the urban core and enjoy," Morrison said.

That's something Sewell hopes may draw folks in for a fresh cup of joe.

"It kind of expands our reach a little bit, because people can get their stuff and be sitting out there and then still be in the area," Sewell said.

To make the expansion happen, they'll need to change up the traffic pattern. You'll no longer be able to take Cotton Avenue from 2nd Street to Cherry. Instead, you'd come up Cotton and turn right onto 2nd Street. They also plan to add more parking.

If the commission approves the plan, they'll start pulling permits later this month. Morrison says the $570,000 construction project would take about six weeks to complete.

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