Wed., September 11, 2013 6:44am (EDT)

Macon In The Mirror: What's To Like
By Mike Stucka
Updated: 10 months ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
Pilar Wilder, right, teaches African dance in her studio on Vineville Avenue. Wilder said that Macon has allowed her to be exactly who she wants to be as a dancer and artist. (Photo: Grant Blankenship for <a href="http://macon.com">The Telegraph of Macon</a>)
Pilar Wilder, right, teaches African dance in her studio on Vineville Avenue. Wilder said that Macon has allowed her to be exactly who she wants to be as a dancer and artist. (Photo: Grant Blankenship for The Telegraph of Macon)
Plenty of roads lead to and from Macon, but many people have found reasons to stay and put down roots.

“I’m safe, you know, I’m at peace. I’m whole. I wanted a better place to raise my children, and I got that in Macon,” said Takesha Shepard, who moved to the city a decade ago from the Bronx, N.Y.

“People from Macon don’t understand what they have. ... You go up there and see the real big city, then you will change your outlook and appreciate Macon. See, I appreciate it.”

Shepard, a chef at an Alzheimer’s care facility, said she’s glad her community sticks together.

She was one of nearly 600 people who discussed their views of the city for the “Macon in the Mirror” project, which examined everything from what frustrates residents about living in Macon to what they like about the city and why they choose to remain in Macon.

Plenty of residents shared the feeling of solidarity that Shepard noted.

“I love everything about Macon. It’s a homey place,” said Vanessa Riggins, a south Bibb County resident who’s lived around Macon most of her life. “Friendly people, everyone speaks to you. ... It’s not too big and not too small. It’s a great place to live.”

Keep reading this story from The Telegraph at Macon.com

"Macon in the Mirror" is a series on GPB produced in partnership with The Telegraph and Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism. The stories are drawn from nearly 600 interviews conducted this year. Monday we talked about what frustrates and worries people about Macon. Tuesday, we considered common misconceptions about Macon. Thursday we will talk to The Telegraph's Joe Kovac, who went looking for the one street that sums up life in Macon today.