MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb County leaders met on Wednesday to find out what the community says is its strengths and weaknesses. It was the first step of a new economic development strategic plan.
Economic development is all about improving the lives in your community. A group of leaders are taking on that task, but before they could get started they had to find out what the residents think about Macon-Bibb County.
More than one thousand residents filled out surveys, took part in focus groups, and went through interviews to share their thoughts on the community.
"It was an opportunity for us to hear back from a consultant that listened to us as a community and reflected back what they saw as our strengths and weaknesses," Macon Economic Development Commission Chair Robbo Hatcher said.
Strengths like location and the college opportunities here. But Hatcher says there are plenty of things to work on.
"Race and leadership and trust, our K-12 education system," he said. "Opportunities like that can be overcome, other communities have done it."
That is where the consulting firm Market Street Services steps in. It will use that data is collected to come up with a plan to make Macon-Bibb County the best it can be.
"It's a good time to be doing a process where we can bring some new ideas to the table, to tackle some issues maybe we've been working on for a while," Matt Tarleton with Market Street Services said.
A steering committee of 40 local leaders are working with the firm to create strategies on how to grow and attract businesses and people to the area.
"They've committed to being a part of a long term implementation effort," Tarleton said. "I think that is what bodes greatest for Macon-Bibb's future."
Hatcher adds it won't happen overnight, but believes Macon-Bibb County's future is looking bright.
He says they weren't surprised by the consulting firm's findings. They'll be working on the strategic plan for the next several months. Hatcher hopes to have a final version by December, just in time for consolidation.