Macon Action Plan 2.0, new Downtown Challenge grants unveiled

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — The hustle and bustle of downtown Macon continues to draw new people and businesses. But the city did not always look this way.

“When we started in 1996, I would say most people didn’t believe that downtown revitalization could happen,” said Josh Rogers, director of Newtown Macon.

Rogers has worked at Newtown since 2014. He says planning and grants help push the city forward.

“When you compare us to some of the most prosperous downtowns in the country, or even in the South, our possibilities are endless,” he said.

Newtown partnered with Macon Urban Development Authority to present a new Macon Action Plan. Downtown Challenge grants totaling $1.5 million from the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the Knight Foundation will help fund the new plan.

The first action plan was implemented in 2017. It reached 92% completion before its five-year deadline.

The new Macon Action Plan has four lenses of action to make downtown more inclusive. Alex Morrison, executive director of Macon’s  Urban Development Authority, says the goal makes the city a better place for everyone.

“We just a more kid-friendly environment, more inclusivity, a greener downtown, and more creative industry,” Morrison said. “The goal here will make sure that as we continue to grow here in downtown, that we do it in responsible and inclusive ways.”

Have an idea?

Anyone with an idea that helps achieve the plan’s goals can apply for a downtown challenge grant. Just visit https://cfcga.org/, click grants, and scroll down to find Downtown Challenge Grant 2.0.

“I’m hoping that everyone will browse the new plan if it sparks something in you. Where you can contribute, come get the money, and make it happen,” Rogers said.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.