On the Ground - Battling Blight: Village Green's Crusade
What starts a community revival? What sustains it? Perhaps you've heard about Macon-Bibb County's plan to spend $10 million to take down blighted homes. One of the distressed areas is a place off of I-475 north of where it meets I-75: Village Green. For the last two and a half years, the Austin Center has coordinated Village Green residents to invest in a community rundown by neglect and blight. The start came with a visible win, said Frank Austin, founder of the center. That would happen on two streets deemed the most blighted in the neighborhood - Village Green Drive and Village Green Lane. During six weekends in the fall of 2013, they cleared away trash from vacated homes and then cut the overgrown trees and grass. That propelled a move to broaden the cleanup across Village Green. Twenty-two of these are planned for this year. Austin said the key is getting neighbors to build on the progress; it will allow them to stand up and ask for help. "If they can form that platform and say, hey Mr. Mayor or Mr. Underwood (William Underwood, president of Mercer University), we have a fantastic program could you partner with us?" Austin said. "I think that type of platform needs to be created." In the first of a three part series of reports on grassroots blight busting in Macon-Bibb County, we look at Village Green's crusade.Listen to our story and then watch the video interview below with the founder, Frank Austin. Read part 2 - a program that deconstructs houses to squash blight.
Tags: Macon, blight, urban blight, blighted homes, Village Green, neighborhoods, community