With the steady decline of the housing and business market in
"No cost associated with implementing the urban redevelopment plan. The shell that we look at now," said Macon City Council Member, Lauren Benedict.
Benedict says the urban redevelopment plan is a good start toward getting the city's economy back on track. The proposed redevelopment area is around 20% of the city. The main parts include downtown, the Eisenhower Corridor and other neighborhoods. Benedict says this is just the shell or outlook for redevelopment and change will only occur after city council approves the plan.
"We want to increase our code enforcement presence in our neighborhoods that are identified in this plan there may be a cost to have more employees to do more code enforcement. But that is something that will be looked at later and each of those things will come back to council piece by piece," said Benedict.
Some of the ideas for improvement from the plan include: implementing stronger code enforcement, especially with maintenance and design standards of property, removing blighted properties, and increasing police protection and safe community efforts.
"I'm glad to see a plan coming together. I think it needs to be tweaked a little bit and it needs more citizen input, but it's a great start and I think the citizens should get behind this plan and make it happen," said Ron Lemon of Macon.
One of the drawbacks of the plan is the data used to calculate the areas of need came from the 2000 census. Council member Benedict believes the plan remains relevant to the community.
"The area that is in the urban redevelopment plan was high poverty 10 years ago, we know it's high poverty today and ECD and our other partners also looked at other data in addition to poverty to help define the area," said Benedict.
Council member Benedict says if council approves the plan, it could help the city receive federal grant money for future development projects.
To see the entire Urban Development Plan follow the link.