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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 2:13pm

NEA Grant To Kickstart Urban Revitalization In Macon

A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts has put in motion a plan for revitalizing an East Macon neighborhood.

The Macon Arts Alliance will use the grant from the NEA Our Town program of just over $134,000 to place the first “artists in residence” in the Mill Hill Arts Village project.

The Mill Hill project is focused on returning to vitality the mill village around what was once a huge textile mill. Today the neighborhood is over 50% unoccupied.

Alex Morrison of the Urban Development Authority says the money triggers $2 million of UDA spending on another piece of the Mill Hill plan.

"It’s the signal that says its time to start rehabbing houses," Morrison said. "Because now we’ve got an initial program that we can get somebody in the houses and start on the arts piece to make that the crux of the community revitalization effort."

Jonathan Harwell-Dye of the Macon Arts Alliance says the grant also signals that the NEA sees the project as on par with other successful projects around the country. Alex Morrison says the rehabilitation of the first home in the neighborhood should start in August.