MACON – A $1 million Georgia Department of Transportation grant to the City of Macon for improvements to Tattnall Square Park along College Street was announced at a news conference today by Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and State Transportation Board member Jim Cole. The funds are part of the Transportation Enhancement grant program, which supports projects that make cities more pedestrian and bike-friendly, beautify landscapes and restore historical sites.
“One project that I had known about for a long time, even before I went on the board, was the efforts of College Hill Corridor and its partners to connect Mercer to downtown and truly make it a pedestrian, biker, student friendly area, not only for Alexander II but also for Mercer students,” said Cole, who is the 8th congressional district representative on the transportation board. “Tattnall Square Park is such a great asset and we’re really looking forward … to taking it to the next level.”
The renovations to Tattnall Square Park will focus on College Street from Oglethorpe Street to Coleman Avenue and will include a retaining wall, streetscape enhancements, and three elevated crosswalks. Parallel parking along both sides of the street as well a bike lane and new sidewalk along the park will also be added. These improvements will facilitate traffic flow and parking for Alexander II Magnet School, located across from Tattnall Square Park on College Street. “This is going to truly be an enhancement for Alexander II and for the children to cross the street to get back and forth,” said Mayor Reichert. “It will enhance the utilization of the park and it will certainly improve the streets and the connection between Mercer, The Medical Center and downtown Macon, which is what we’re all about.”
The project is supported by the College Hill Corridor Master Plan, which guides the efforts of the College Hill Alliance and was crafted with community input. Improvements funded by the grant will facilitate the first step in the restoration of the park as a centerpiece for leisure and recreation, which is a priority of the Master Plan. By improving road conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, the project also fulfills recommendations made by the plan that aim to create a vibrant streetscape in the Corridor.
“We’ve had so many successes with the College Hill Corridor initiative, but the ones that take the greatest amount of time are when we start to try and make physical changes to the infrastructure,” said Patrick Madison, executive director of the College Hill Alliance. “This really does represent a significant step in making the College Hill Corridor more walkable, pedestrian friendly and look better.”
The estimated total cost for the Tattnall Square Park improvements along College Street is $1.375 million. The Transportation Enhancement grant awarded to the City of Macon will cover $1 million of the project’s costs and Mercer University has pledged to raise the matching funds.
“I am deeply grateful to Jim Cole and the Georgia Department of Transportation for funding this project that is so important to the City of Macon, the College Hill Corridor, Alexander II Magnet School and Mercer University,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “It is another significant and positive step toward implementing the College Hill Corridor Master Plan.”
The College Hill Alliance will act as project manager for this public-private partnership once the funds are received, with completion of the project scheduled to occur within 18 to 24 months. To view and download a concept drawing of the Tattnall Square Park and College Street improvements, visit http://bit.ly/tspconceptmap.
About the College Hill Corridor
The goal of College Hill Corridor initiative is to restore the social and physical fabric between the Mercer University campus and downtown Macon, while adding economic value to the city’s tax base, beautifying residential and commercial areas, attracting and retaining creative young professionals and programming fun public events. The College Hill Alliance is charged with implementing the recommendations of the community-guided Master Plan and is guided by a seven-member Steering Committee and the College Hill Corridor Commission, a diverse organization whose members are jointly appointed by the City of Macon and Mercer. For more information, visit www.collegehillmacon.com.