Mayor and county leaders visit Harvard

On Thursday, October 6, Mayor Lester Miller, Deputy County Executive Julie Moore, and other county leaders traveled to Cambridge, Mass., for the Infrastructure Innovation Summit at the Harvard Kennedy School. The trip was funded by our great partner, The Knight Foundation.

Mayor Miller was invited to speak at a panel titled “American Rescue Plan Success Stories: Infrastructure, Public Spaces, and Creating Communities.” He explained how our county chose to deploy American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to meet the needs of our community.

“We were delighted to learn that further federal grant opportunities will be available next year to continue to develop our infrastructure in relation to a walkable and cycling community,” Moore said.

Mayor Miller, Moore, Macon Mental Health Matters (MMHM) Coordinator Andrea Cooke, NewTown Macon President and CEO Josh Rogers, Historic Macon Foundation Executive Director Ethiel Garlington and Knight Foundation Macon Director Lynn Murphey all represented Macon-Bibb County. They were able to network with other Knight City affiliates to discuss the different ways each has approached the use of ARPA funds.

“It was a great opportunity to share what we’ve done so far,” said Mayor Miller. “It was really cool to have great feedback, and even follow-up questions about how we do what we do. I was really proud to represent Macon-Bibb County.

Over the past year, Macon-Bibb County has distributed ARPA funds to assist with food distribution, Brookdale Warming Center, and focus on Blight and affordable housing opportunities.

“We are also grateful to the partners who helped with matching funds for these projects to double their impact. The Knight Foundation was an early leader in providing $1.6 million to match the $1.6 million in ARPA funds used by NewTown Macon and Historic Macon,” Moore said.

There are ten units in Beall’s Hill on Oglethorpe Street that will be available at the end of this month and two more handicap accessible units (Americans with Disabilities Act) available by the end of November. Using ARPA funds, NewTown Macon issued loans that will provide 73 new homes and clear a crumbling office stock.

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