Macon-Bibb Commissioners share plans to spend their allotments to fight blight

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb Commissioners will each get one-million dollars to address blight in their districts. They can choose to partner with another commissioner and use their money for another district, or they can put money back into the Blight Remediation Fund.

District Two Commissioner Larry Schlesinger says he could use all nine-million dollars to improve his area. He thinks his district has some of the most blighted areas in Macon-Bibb. He wants to focus on East Macon, where Second Street connects with Little Richard Penniman Boulevard and Houston Avenue. He adds it’s important commissioners don’t replace one problem with another.

"We can tear a house down, but then all we have is an empty lot and it can become overgrown and be used as a dumping ground because nothing is there. I think we want to be very, very careful," explains Commissioner Schlesinger.

Commissioner Schlesinger is open to partnering with other commissioners to bring more relief to District Two. Commissioners might hire a consultant to advise them in their planning. They’re expected to talk about it at their meeting next week.

District Seven Commissioner Scotty Shepherd doesn’t think one-million dollars is enough. He believes some districts will need to combine resources. He’s talking with some other commissioners about future projects.

District One Commissioner Gary Bechtel says he was hoping the county went in a different direction with this decision. He adds he doesn’t need as much money as other districts and doesn’t have any plans at this time.

District Four Commissioner Mallory Jones thinks one-million dollars for each district is too much. He wanted to pass an amendment to limit each district to $200,000. He says it’s too early for him to talk about his plans and wants to review data before making any decisions.

41NBC reached out to the other Macon-Bibb County Commissioners for their response to the blight money allotments, but we haven’t heard back.