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Downtown Macon businesses concerned about county's proposed trash plans

With more business and people in downtown, comes more trash. Bibb County is making changes to their trash removal procedures so the area remains enjoyable for all.

MACON, Ga. — Many people can agree that downtown Macon is growing. It has new restaurants and hotels, street expansions and many new stores. 

As it continues to grow, Bibb County wants to make sure that a trail of trash doesn't follow behind all of the progress. 

"Every time I come back up here, I see more businesses and the store fronts are getting full," says John Thornberry a former downtown resident.

He says during his time living in downtown he's seen the area experience highs and lows. Now, its at an all time high.

"Overall cleanliness, great. It's on the up and up, I see it coming," he says.

To keep it clean, safe, and enjoyable for everyone, Bibb County wants to properly manage trash. 

As of now, commercial trash collection is handled by a private company contracting with property and business owners. 

However, not every owner has a contract in place. Macon-Bibb county is considering putting in tighter rules, like having each business sign contracts with their own trash pickup company, and having them get their own dumpster.

The proposal also says that after a warning, businesses can be fined $100 per day for trash bigger than two cubic yards. That's considered a public nuisance.

Not every business is sure that's the best way to take keep the area clean.

"That will be an extra expense," says Wayne Woodard.

"I think the city taking that load actually makes the city run smoother," says Tony Martin.

Martin has been a business man in downtown Macon for many years. He's gone from running and promoting clubs to co-owning Global Soles on Poplar Street.

He says now is a prime time to own a business in the area because of the growth.

"Now more than ever with it being so clean and the influx of business, I feel they go hand and hand," he says.

Martin says he wouldn't know where their business would be able to store their dumpster, and it would add more to their plate.

"We're getting charged sometimes to even park, so now to add trash on top, and you also have employees and you have inventory, everything else to worry about. That shouldn't be one thing that we should add to the plate," he says.

Wayne Woodard says he has to worry for 2 businesses. He is the owner of Ambitious Graphics and Imagine 584.

"That doesn't make me want to open more businesses downtown, when I could just go somewhere else and not have to worry about it don't have to worry about it," he said.

Woodard adds that it might not help them prevent the spread of trash.

"I feel like it will end up making its way out to the streets or just in random spots," he says.

No changes will be made until early 2023. The Macon-Bibb commission will talk about their proposed plans at their meeting on Tuesday.

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