City of Macon Announces Greener City Efforts

(Macon, GA) The City of Macon’s Strategic Plan for 2013 identifies several projects within the B.E.S.T. framework that seek to improve our neighborhoods and clean up the City. Whether it’s with the 5x5 Program of focused services or finding ways to improve the gateways in to our community, Mayor Robert Reichert is committed to improving the appearance of Macon-Bibb County.

“Presentation matters in our daily lives and careers, and it matters in the redevelopment and revitalization of our City,” says the Mayor. “This is a great city to live, work, and play, and we need to put our best foot forward so visitors and tourists will be encouraged to learn more about us and our own citizens will have a sense of pride in their community.”

Recycling Program Expansion
Beginning in February 2013, the City Of Macon – through its Public Works Department – expanded its Single Stream Recycling Program to include the collection of glass bottles.
“Not including glass bottles in the collection was a concern raised by residents in the targeted neighborhoods, and this expansion not only meets their need, it will increase the amount of material sent to our landfill,” says the Mayor. In December and January, almost 80 tons of recyclable material was collected through the single stream program and the city-wide newspaper recycling program.

In the single stream program, four neighborhoods in Macon – Intown, Shirley Hills, Vineville, and Wimbish Rd – and several schools are provided 65-gallon blue roll-off carts to collect: glass bottles, clean paper, mail; flattened cardboard, newspaper, magazines, catalogs, phone books, paperback books, wrapping paper (no foil or ribbons), plastic bottles and jugs (no caps or lids), clean plastic dairy jugs (yogurt, margarine, etc.), and aluminum, steel, and tin-plated cans.

On the first and third Thursdays of each month, the blue roll-off carts in the Intown and Vineville neighborhoods are picked up, and they are picked up in the Shirley Hills and Wimbish Road neighborhoods on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.

“Recycling and composting is protective of the environment, preventing the emission of many greenhouse gases and water pollutants and reducing the amount of material sent to our landfill,” says Public Works Director Richard Powell.

“The news that we now will be able to add glass bottles to our recycling cart is a wonderful added benefit to this program,” says Vineville Neighborhood Association Properties Co-Chair Ron Lemon. “We have found that the simplicity of one-stop recycling is the best way that we can keep reusable products from the landfill, and we hope that this project can go city/county-wide in the near future.”

"Historic neighborhoods like InTown are prime examples of green living, and we have embraced the recycling concept and adding glass will greatly enhance the program,” says Nathan Dees, President of the InTown Macon Neighborhood Association. “Neighbors can easily keep a large amount of material from making its way to the landfill. Every item recycled adds to the sustainability of our area."

The entire City receives recycling pick up for newspapers, and that is picked up the same day as regular trash pickup. For information about the recycling program – or to request a recycling bin or rolling trash can – contact the Public Works Department at 478-751-9123.

Weekend Street Cleanings
After a trip to Columbus, GA to learn about its Gateway Initiative, the Parks Division of Public Works began targeting areas of the City to focus its litter pickup. Using prison detail crews and community service crews, major thoroughfares and intersections have been identified for focused cleaning. The community service crews are made possible by a partnership with Providence Community Corrections to provide service hours for people.

In the past month of this work, the community service crews have collected more than 6,000 pounds of trash, and City detail crews have collected 5,100 pounds of trash, including almost 2,200 pounds from Riverside Drive. Crews have worked on Riverside Drive, Emery Highway from Spring Street to the Ocmulgee East Boulevard Intersection, and parts of Napier and Montpelier Avenues from the bridges at Mercer Village. This weekend, the cleanup will focus on Pio Nono Avenue from Eisenhower Parkway toward Vineville Avenue.

“The appearance of our streets says a lot about our City,” says the Mayor, who – while walking Downtown – will stop to pick up trash along the sidewalks. “We all need to take pride in our neighborhoods and help pick up trash where we see it, and I’m very pleased with the amount that has been collected in a short amount of time.”

The City of Macon provides a supervisor for the work, transportation to the areas needing cleaning, safety vests, gloves, and litter sticks. Areas to be cleaned are selected earlier in the week by the Public Works Department based on community concerns, SeeClickFix reports, and personal observation.

Rosa Parks Square Tree Planting
“Macon is a City in a Park, and we need to make a commitment to our community by improving our parks, adding trees, and increasing the amount of green space,” says the Mayor. “Those quality of life items are part of what attract residents and businesses here.”

On Thursday, February 21, the City took another step in upgrading Rosa Parks Square in front of City Hall by planting 14. Four more trees are still to be planted. In the Spring of 2012, the City doubled the size of the park by acquiring two dilapidated parking lots and converting them to green space

Green Space Expansion
Converting the former Boys and Girls Club on Second Street to green space for the neighborhood is part of the Second Street Downtown Corridor Master Plan. During the past few weeks, the Public Works and Economic & Community Development Departments have been preparing the building for demolition and green space addition, and the demolition is expected to happen in the next few weeks.

“This plan will connect the different areas of our City with a walkable, livable, and sustainable corridor, and that includes increasing the amount of trees and green space in that area,” says the Mayor. “The new green space we are preparing to create provides a gorgeous overlook of our entire city, and I know the neighborhoods will enjoy it and see it as a point of pride.”