Created: Thu, 16 Jan 2014 07:15:00 EST
Updated: Thu, 16 Jan 2014 10:05:29 EST
Macon-Bibb County is identified as one of seven cities suffering from chronic economic distress as announced Thursday by Mayor Robert Reichert at the Macon-Bibb Government Center.
Along with that recognition from the U.S. Department Of Housing & Urban Development comes the promise of help.
Macon will participate in HUD’s "Strong Cities, Strong Communities" initiative. A program that identifies cities suffering from economic problems and helps them back on their feet.
"They recognize the opportunity to correct that and to change that and to reverse the course of the downward decline and instead come up," Reichert said.
Next month, two federal experts will move into the Macon Bibb Government Center for a year. They'll analyze spending, help streamline federal aid, bring in professional expertise and better align federal programs and investments. Priorities are not yet set but Mayor Reichert already has a few ideas. These include developing a transportation hub around the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, furthering the Second Street Corridor Initiative, education, cleaning up blighted neighborhoods.
"We're changing 40 years of decline, we're reversing what has been going on in our community."
Change won't happen overnight. Mayor Reichert is calling this a process, not an event.
The federal experts along with 8-10 others from key agencies that fit with the local plan are expected to create economic opportunity based on the partnerships and strategies already in place. While the federal experts are expected to help, Mayor Reichert says it's the efforts from the private and local public sectors that will generate the change.