The Macon Newsroom

P&Z goes virtual as COVID-19 concerns cancel most Macon-Bibb govt. meetings

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission's Design Review Board conducts its last meeting Monday afternoon before the office closes. The office is suspending public gatherings until May.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

March 16, 2020

Concern over the global coronavirus pandemic is putting disaster preparedness plans to the test. The Macon-Bibb C0unty Commission will be meeting by phone Tuesday and the Planning & Zoning department has decided to close its doors to the public. "Our goal is to have the least amount of disruption...

Low-income housing, homeless respite planned for downtown Macon

The Macon Housing Authority plans to buy a 4-acre tract on lower Walnut St. for a $15 million affordable housing complex. The proposed buildings next to Daybreak would include a respite for the homeless recovering from surgery or illness.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

March 13, 2020

A proposed residential complex on the edge of downtown could provide affordable housing and a safe space for Macon’s homeless population to recuperate from surgery, illness or injury. The Urban Development Authority has agreed to sell the 4.16-acre block of lower Walnut Street next to Daybreak to...

Shortage of deputies and firefighters leads to $1.9 million in overtime costs

Bibb County is down about 100 sheriff's deputies and 72 firefighters which resulted in nearly $1.9 million in overtime expenses.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

March 11, 2020

Hardly a day goes by that Macon-Bibb County’s fire chiefs aren’t talking about recruiting new firefighters and trying to keep the ones they have. Bibb County Sheriff David Davis shares their struggle to protect the community in the midst of staff vacancies. “It’s crucial we have a competitive...

‘Lame duck’ mayoral appointments have commissioners crying foul

Mayor pro tem Al Tillman takes his seat at the start of Macon-Bibb Commission committee meetings Tuesday morning.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

March 10, 2020

As nominees for several Macon-Bibb County boards sat waiting in Tuesday’s committee meeting, Mayor Robert Reichert appeared blindsided by a proposed moratorium on administrative appointments. “I’m a little taken aback. That’s OK. I try to dance on marbles,” Reichert told commissioners. Mayor...

New plans for old Pio Nono Kroger to hold storage units and grocery to ease ‘food desert’

Proposed new plans for a self-storage facility in the 84,000 sq. ft. old Kroger building now reserve 15,000 sq. ft. of the building for a future grocery store at 400 Pio Nono Ave.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

March 9, 2020

The developer hoping to turn the old Pio Nono Avenue Kroger into storage units is not giving up. Axela Development Group is asking for a rehearing before the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission after carving out 15,000 sq. ft. of the 84,000 sq. ft. building for a potential grocery store. The...

Sheriff’s outreach center thwarts proposed teen rehab as P&Z ponders Forsyth St. revitalization, new house downtown and day care in NW Macon

The Bibb County Sheriff's Office will consolidate its Outreach and Restorative Justice Center in the old Macon Rescue Mission. Prodigal Sons & Daughters, of Fairburn, had hoped to use the building for a  youth rehabilitation residence.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

March 6, 2020

Plans for a youth addiction rehabilitation home in the old Macon Rescue Mission property near Downtown Macon have been thwarted by the sale of the property to the county. Although the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission is set to hold a second hearing Monday on the Prodigal Sons &...

Macon’s Sandy Beach Water Park will reopen under new management at Lake Tobesofkee

The Sandy Beach Water Park at Lake Tobesofkee is expected to reopen in time for Memorial Day 2020.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

March 5, 2020

If days of rain have you looking forward to summer, you might not be alone. StandGuard Aquatics Inc. is preparing to open the Sandy Beach Water Park at Lake Tobesofkee in time for the Memorial Day weekend. After the facility did not open last year, Macon-Bibb County commissioners approved a new...

Macon-Bibb to blame for business dept. problems, commissioners say before split vote to privatize

SAFEbuilt Georgia LLC will take over inspections and the issuing of permits in the Macon-Bibb County Business Development Services Department.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

March 4, 2020

Macon-Bibb County is privatizing building inspections and permits but not without more contentious debate. Mayor Robert Reichert had to break a 4-4 tie among commissioners to approve a 5-year contract with SAFEbuilt Georgia LLC, which has been operating the department for several months. Tuesd...

Is Macon-Bibb poised for lawsuit in outsourcing business permitting, inspections?

Macon-Bibb County is considering splitting its Business Development Services Department and outsourcing inspections and permits to SAFEbuilt.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

February 28, 2020

As the county commission prepares to vote Tuesday on whether to outsource building permits and inspections, some question the legality of the contract. Mayor Robert Reichert and County Manager Keith Moffett have proposed hiring SAFEBuilt Georgia LLC to provide services based on a 60-40 split of the...

New free rides for kids on Macon Transit Authority buses

Beginning March 1, children ages 12 and under, who are accompanied by an adult can ride for free on Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority buses.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

February 26, 2020

Families with young children will soon be getting a break on their bus fare. Beginning next week, all children ages 12 and under will ride for free with an accompanying adult on Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority buses. Craig Ross, president and CEO of the authority, asked board members to consider...

Public input sought as Macon poised to curb alcohol licenses

Earlier this month, Macon-Bibb County Commissioners denied an alcohol license for Friends Food Mart at 3350 Houston Ave. due to safety concerns. Commissioners are now considering a moratorium on licenses in the 31204, 31206 and 31211 zip codes.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

February 25, 2020

Macon-Bibb County commissioners will decide next Tuesday whether to issue a moratorium on alcohol licenses in the zip codes of 31204, 31206 and 31211. “I think that there’s some argument to be made that we’re oversaturated,” Commissioner Virgil Watkins told the Operations and Finance Committee...

Sonny’s BBQ hits design roadblock; Hotel, nightclub, convenience store approved

The Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning Commission is still considering a Sonny's BBQ restaurant at the Lofts at Zebulon.

Liz Fabian, Civic Reporting Senior Fellow

February 24, 2020

Plans for a Sonny’s BBQ restaurant on Zebulon Road will have to go before the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission for a third time. Monday, commissioners voted to defer the application for a second time after the design plan violated four stipulations in the original concept for outparcels...

The Macon Newsroom features work from the collaboration among Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism, 13WMAZ, Georgia Public Broadcasting and The Telegraph
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