Macon-Bibb seeks enhanced homeless info, restricts coin operated amusement machines


During Tuesday’s committee meeting of the Macon-Bibb County Commission, commissioners  revisited a few items tabled last week.

After further debate, the commission approved greater distance requirements between churches and schools and coin operated amusement machines.

They also signed off on up to $250,000 from American Rescue Plan Act funds to conduct an enhanced survey of those living in homelessness.

Commissioner Virgil Watkins Jr. wanted to move beyond the point-in-time count that simply numbers all of those found to be living on the streets on a particular day in January. Watkins plan calls for social workers, with the help of law enforcement, to interview members of the homeless community and learn more about their circumstances.

The extra knowledge could help match those in need with services.

Plans for Gateway Park also were shared during the meeting. Parks & Beautification Director Michael Glisson made it clear the Otis Redding statue will not be part of the renovation.

The new design removes the stairs leading up from an overlook that routinely flooded and creates a larger plaza where the statue used to be. Glisson sees the park as more of a trailhead than a community gathering place because of the proximity to the busy intersection of Riverside Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The Otis Redding Foundation asked that the statue be removed. The park became a home to vagrants and the bathroom facilities were so frequently a mess that they remain locked.

While no plans have been announced for the statue’s relocation, the foundation recently purchased a plot of land across from Hotel 45 that was the site of the old Nu-Way Weiners which burned in 2015.

Here are the highlights from the meeting: