Macon City Council voted Monday to allow Macon Police to set up a "mini-precinct" in the Village Green and Bloomfield neighborhoods.
The South Macon neighborhoods have seen plenty of crime in the past years. According to Police Chief Mike Burns, having extra and proactive police teams patrolling the area will cut down on crime.
The new precinct will be housed in the AmeriaCorps building, and will not affect the police budget. A move Burns says, helps the residents, and his team.
"We'll have more officers going in and out. Not only the zone officers, but the Focus Mission officers. Or any other detail we might have going on. They can go in there, do the reports...meet citizens in the building. We'll make good use of it," Burns says.
Burns said residents in the neighborhood can expect to see the increased patrols beginning some time next week.
The House and Senate Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee held a listening session, to hear what citizens had to say about how the state will re-draw its district lines.
"It's a very important process," State Senator (R. Dist. 18) Cecil Staton says. "We only do it once every 10 years, and we want to get it right. And we want to hear from the people of Georgia."
Constitutional law requires that every state re-draw its district lines, according to the census population. Citizens say, they want to be included in the process, and know what is going on with the changes.
Warner Robins resident, Ann MacKay says, she wants to see three things in this process; fairness, transparency, and equality.
"They should be open, they should communicate with us, and there should be some accountability. We need to know the process, what the principles are they are going to be using in the redistricting process. And we have to have some citizen input," MacKay said.
State Representative Allen Peake (R. Dist. 137) says, listening sessions are a key part in this process.
"We want to make sure it's fair, we want to make sure it's transparent. And so we're trying to get as much feedback as we can from citizens," Peake said.
Georgia has seen more than an 18% increase in its total population from the last census, which means the state will go from having 13 Congressional Seats, to 14 Seats in Washington.
Peake and Staton say they do not know yet which district will pick up the extra seat, but the changes are good for the state.
"It means we'll have more Representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives...it's also important for the Electoral College, if you think about things like that. When we come to elect a new President, it means Georgia has more influence, more clout, and another vote in the Electoral College," Staton says.
Warner Robins is drawing the attention of creative people and as a result is creating more jobs.
President and CEO of Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce Ed Rodriguez says businesses in the city are becoming leaner and meaner.
"They're more likely to be experimental sometimes and think outside the box because you have to do that to succeed."
More technology-based companies are paving the way for a brighter future.
"We are now attracting more younger, vibrant adults here so our city has to conform to the needs of young adults," said Executive Director of the Warner Robins Redevelopmental Agency Gary Lee.
Residents of Warner Robins agree that education is key to a smarter, stronger workforce.
"Our biggest reason for moving here was because of the school systems," said Linda Avery.
Rodriguez says, "When you have a great and strong educational system and I don't just mean the great K through 12 schools we have in our region, but the great colleges and universities that's going to feed the workforce."
The average income and the percentage of creative jobs rank the city as one of the top ten destinations appealing to innovative working classes.
A national program called Main Street Designation is a push for cities with downtown areas to revitalize using a four point strategy: organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring. Over the past year, the city of Macon has been utilizing all four of these components, now they are waiting for the seal of approval from the state, the final piece of the puzzle.
"The point of Main Street designation is not just to focus on everything that's going well now, but to look at each block and say how can we improve it," says Alex Morrison, Executive Director of the Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority.
Now, another vacant building is being added to the city landscape with the closing of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
"It is sad to see the Hall of Fame go, it's important, and what Main Street will always do is look at things as opportunities and not as hurdles," says Morrison.
City officials and organizations are seizing opportunities like this one to work even harder toward Main Street Deisgnation.
"It's like having the good housekeeping seal of approval. It means that we are working together, we are using this four point approach that is tried and true and proven to work to revitalize downtowns," says Kris Hattaway, Director of Place, NewTown Macon.
One simple way this plan will help with revitalizing the city is new street signs. Design Director for the Main Street Program, Wimberly Treadwell, says new street signs will breathe life into the city.
"We're going to replace the brown signs in Downtown with something that's bright and blue and orange and has the logo of First Friday and really says that your in Downtown Macon."
That's just one piece of the four-point plan that will happen when the city is a part of Main Street Designation. The official approval from the state should happen by the end of the summer.