Amphitheater on track as Macon-Bibb funds $36 million in capital improvements

Final amphitheater design unveiled for Macon-Bibb County Commissioners during committee meeting


Macon-Bibb County is investing $36 million in capital improvements next year, including $15 million for Middle Georgia Regional Airport’s planned runway expansion and renovation.

Mayor Lester Miller noted the amphitheater design pays homage to the letter “M.” (Screenshot)

That money doesn’t include the $44 million in bond money reserved for the Macon Mall amphitheater project that is on schedule to be completed late next year, according to an update presented Tuesday to the county commission during its committee meeting.

Federal American Rescue Plan Act money contributes $16 million to the $36 million allocated Tuesday for capital expenditures, which prompted some commissioners to express concerns about not being more involved in the spending decisions. They echoed those concerns during discussion of $111,000 in Community Development Block Grants being dispersed to local service agencies.

Mayor Lester Miller said about $22 million of the second federal rescue fund allocation remains to be spent. He pledged to present commissioners with a requested breakdown of funding allocations.

Tuesday, commissioners also dispersed $2.1 million remaining from the first tranche of federal money to service agencies to assist with food distribution, homeless issues, mental health programs, Middle Georgia Justice Project and the Macon-Bibb Transit Authority.

Assistant to the County Manager for Budget and Strategic Planning Julie Moore told commissioners they should be proud the county has quickly and efficiently allocated the ARP money while other municipalities are still trying to figure out what to do with the pandemic relief funds.

Miller’s ability to match federal funds with other grants multiplied the $37 million in the first allocation to $55 million dollars, which resulted in the mayor being invited to share his strategy at a recent conference at Harvard University.

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s committee meeting which included an hourlong presentation of the final design plans for the amphitheater, some new streetlights, enhanced traffic crash data for pedestrian safety improvements and new plantings at Amerson River Park, including a tree in honor of the late Queen Elizabeth.