Historic Macon Foundation now includes a unique housewarming gift with every home that is purchased from the preservation organization in Beall’s Hill. The new program, dubbed “Bikes for Beall’s Hill,” is funded in part by a grant from the Richard and Julia Moe Family Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and will provide two bikes, two helmets and two bike locks to homebuyers.
Bikes for Beall’s Hill is part of the movement to make Macon, particularly the Beall’s Hill neighborhood, a more bikable and walkable community. Initiatives like the Macon Action Plan have encouraged Maconites to advocate for better bike lanes for riders and improved sidewalks for walkers. This follows a more global trend of citizens living in neighborhoods that are accessible to many amenities by bike or foot. Advocacy efforts from organizations such Bike Walk Macon, NewTown Macon, and the Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority have drawn attention to the need for improved infrastructure throughout Macon and Historic Macon is capitalizing on that energy by giving homebuyers the tools to enjoy Macon’s historic urban core by bike.
Historic Macon has partnered with Bike Tech, a local cycle shop located on Vineville Avenue, to provide bicycles to homebuyers. Buyers of homes that have been developed by Historic Macon receive a gift card that covers the cost of two bicycles, two helmets, and two bike locks at Bike Tech, at no additional cost to the homebuyer.
“We are thrilled to partner with Historic Macon in the Bikes for Beall's Hill program,” stated Bobby Schorr. “Over the last few years, we've seen a significant increase in people wanting to ride their bikes to work, shop and explore downtown and it is much easier to do that when you live in the neighborhood. It's programs like these that make Macon such a great place to live, work and play!”
Several homebuyers have already taken advantage of the program and have received their bikes from Bike Tech. Dalton Turner, a 24-year old pharmaceutical sales rep, purchased his first home this year. He is now the proud owner of 1388 Calhoun Street, Historic Macon’s most ambitious rehabilitation project to date.
“The Calhoun House stole our hearts from the moment we entered,” Turner said. “Beall’s Hill Neighborhood allows us to be immersed in the vibrant growth and diversity of Macon. With the Bike’s for Beall’s Hill initiative we are able to experience this tangible progression in a more intimate way. We are very grateful.”
As the lead real estate developer in Beall’s Hill, Historic Macon is committed to strengthening the neighborhood as a vibrant and attractive place to live. Besides rehabbing historic homes, this includes leveraging public resources to make much-needed improvements in the neighborhood. Macon-Bibb County allocated $2 million in funds for infrastructure improvements in Beall’s Hill after Historic Macon was awarded a $3 million investment from Knight Foundation in 2014. Public funds will improve sidewalks, provide more street lighting, and make roads safer for motorists and bicyclists to share in Beall’s Hill.
“Beall’s Hill is perfectly positioned for bike riders since it’s nestled between Mercer University and Navicent Health,” said Ethiel Garlington, executive director of Historic Macon. “Plus it’s an easy bike ride to Downtown. Thanks to the support of the National Trust and the upcoming street improvements, Beall’s Hill residents will have more transportation options. These options make the neighborhood more affordable and attractive for all residents.”
Historic Macon actively promotes the lifestyle that comes with living in historic neighborhoods; the walkability and bikability of these areas being a main selling feature. Historic Macon has witnessed a growing market among homebuyers who actively seek out neighborhoods within walking and biking distance to downtown. Paired with the expansion of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and the sense of community surrounding local bike groups, Historic Macon hopes to give homebuyers an outlet to explore and enjoy the community in a healthy way.
If homebuyers already own a bike or do not wish to take advantage of the program, they can donate their bikes to those in need. Historic Macon works with Centenary United Methodist Church to identify Beall’s Hill residents who need a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation.
About Historic Macon Foundation
Founded in 1964, Historic Macon Foundation is a nonprofit organization that revitalizes Macon by preserving architecture and sharing history. For over 50 years, Historic Macon has been engaged in community revitalization efforts and has led the nation in innovative tactics for historic preservation. For more information or to become a member, visit www.historicmacon.org or call 478-742-5084.