College Hill is more than a location - it’s a movement. And in addition to creating a sense of place, the thing that makes College Hill different from most neighborhood revitalization efforts is that it is nurturing new leaders at every level. Developing what I call “everyday leaders”: young, not so young, new people to town, folks who have always been here but not had the opportunity to make a difference. Now they are. College Hill is creating a sense of belonging.
This next phase of the work over the next three years will continue to build out the Master Plan, but add a new component - prosperity development - through creating an Innovation Corridor and jobs that will attract and retain the best and brightest. When the four Mercer University students first came up with the idea of College Hill in 2006, one of their main goals was to create jobs that would allow college graduates to stay here. We know that since 1990, all net new job growth in America has come from firms that are five years old or less. And in the last decade, the Macon area has lost 7,600 jobs - traditional 20th Century jobs that likely will not return.
We’d also like to share the 15 finalists. While we weren’t able to fund all of them, we enjoyed getting to know more about the people and ideas behind them, and hope to see them come to life in the months ahead.
We've heard that it’s valuable for people to see the original applications for the projects that rose to the top, so gathered them them all in one place. If you want to learn more about each of the finalists and the winners, check out the links to each of their original submissions (an asterisk notes a News Challenge: Data winner).
Joe Germuska, John Keefe, Ryan Pitts, Investigative Reporters & Editors