MACON — The College Hill Corridor Commission will hold a series of public interviews with city design and planning firms to help it determine which firm will design the new plan for improving neighborhoods around Mercer University and into downtown. The neighborhoods that will be a part of the plan are downtown Macon, the Intown Historic District, Beall's Hill, Montpelier Heights, Huguenin Heights, Tattnall Square Heights, Tindall Heights, Windsor Hill and Troupe Hill.
The College Hill Corridor Commission whittled down the three finalists from a list of 21 famous design firms from across the country.
“The interest that we have received from nationally-renowned town planners and urban design firms was unbelievable,” said Kevin Dubose, co-chair of the commission and director of economic and community development for the city of Macon. “The Commission is committed to an engaged design process where the entire community contributes to decision-making. We need the public’s help to decide whose ideas and plans will work best in Macon for today and for generations to come. Each of these interviews is open to the media and public and we encourage everyone to attend.”
All three interviews will be held at the Cox Capitol Theatre and each will feature a 30-minute presentation of the firms’ ideas, projected on the Theatre’s high definition big screen and a moderated 30-minute question and answer session with the public. The College Hill Corridor Commission will also collect comment cards to help it choose a master planner.
Thursday, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m., John Thomas and WK Dickson of Savannah
Thursday, Aug. 28, at 1 p.m., Scott Page of Interface Studio of Philadelphia, Pa.
Friday, Aug. 29, at 4:30 p.m. Dhiru Thadani of Ayers Saint Gross in Washington, D.C.
“We’re proud and excited that this project has attracted the attention of national design firms with incredible talent, creativity, and experience,” said commission co-chair Sarah Gerwig-Moore, an associate professor at Mercer’s Walter F. George School of Law. “Our public interview process and the selection of a firm in early September brings us closer to our goals of creating and improving a physical and social Corridor between the University and downtown.”
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia gave Mercer University a $250,000 grant to plan for an Alliance the could potentially expand the College Hill Corridor into a full-fledged multi-neighborhood redevelopment effort. Modeled after that University Park Alliance in Akron, Ohio, the new College Hill Alliance would expand the University’s and the city of Macon’s efforts to improve the neighborhoods around the University.
Through the grant, the College Hill Corridor Commission has been able to solicit proposals from architects, designers and city planners over the past two months for the chance to come to Macon and help the community improve the College Hill area. The chosen firm will work with the community to produce a comprehensive master plan to guide the future of this large area.
Once the interviews conclude, video footage from each interview will be uploaded to http://www.collegehillcorridor.com and the general public can use the College Hill Corridor Commission blog to discuss the merits of each firm.
About the College Hill Corridor Commission:
The College Hill Corridor Commission is a diverse commission co-created by the City of Macon and Mercer University to create a pedestrian and bike-friendly path between Mercer University and downtown. Along the way, the Commission intends to add economic value to the city's tax base, beautify residential and commercial areas, attract and retain creative young professionals and program fun public events. For more information, visit www.collegehillcorridor.com.
About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.