Nearly $100 million has been invested in the area since 2009, more than 95 percent of it from private investors.
Property values have increased 34 percent from 2002 to 2011, compared to 21 percent for Macon as a whole.
During that same period, the property taxes collected in College Hill
increased 57 percent to $2.6 million annually—
a nearly $1 million yearly increase in an area with only 1,554 residential parcels. That's according to a study by Middle Georgia State College .
The increase has been driven by rehabilitation of existing housing and new construction on empty lots, putting properties back on the tax rolls.
This fall, Mercer University enrolled
the largest freshman class in its 181-year history
(807 students, a 43 percent increase from the 565 freshmen
enrolled three years earlier).
At the same time, Mercer University has become more selective;
the high school GPAs, and SAT and ACT scores,
for incoming freshmen have all risen
(the average high school GPA, for example, increased from 3.66 to 3.8).
One hundred thirty Knight Neighborhood Challenge grants totaling $3 million have been awarded.
Neighbors volunteer an average of 298 hours each month.
Second Sunday concerts in Washington Park regularly draw 2,000 people.
A revolving loan fund, known as Historic Hills & Heights, established in 2009 increased the rate of new construction and renovations in the Beall’s Hill section by 500 percent, from two or three houses per year before it started to eight new houses and seven rehabs between May 2010 and May 2011.
In 2010 and again in 2011, the National Preservation Conference
recognized the Beall’s Hill project as the
most successful housing revolving loan fund in the nation.
Neighbors have planted 250 trees and installed a rain garden in Tattnall Square
Park, which was recently designated as one of 12 “Frontline Parks” nationwide by the City Parks Alliance, joining New York’s High Line and Prospect Park. The
Frontline designation is given to urban parks that overcome obstacles such as
small budgets, restrictions on land usage or dilapidated neighborhoods.
In 2013, the International Economic Development Council recognized the
College Hill Alliance’s work with a Gold Award in Economic Development for cities with populations between 25,000 to 200,000 for the success of Mercer Village, an area once filled with vacant, dilapidated buildings that was transformed into a vibrant residential and retail destination. The council also recognized the partnership in College Hill between the city of Macon, Mercer University and Knight Foundation with a Silver Award for Neighborhood Development.
The Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association awarded the College Hill Alliance the Outstanding Economic Development Planning award for 2014. That same year, Heather Holder Pendergast, College Hill Alliance executive director, was named one of “40 Under 40” statewide leaders by Georgia Trend magazine.
STATISTICAL OVERVIEW OF THE KNIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD CHALLENGE
286 applications over the five-year period that ended in the fall of 2014.
130 grants worth almost $3 million were awarded.
The grants ranged from $450 to $130,000, with the average grant just under $20,000. “We learned that applicants asked for exactly what they needed, no more,
no less”, said Knight Foundation’s Beverly Blake.
$1.3 million in additional funding was raised by grantees to further support their projects, even though there was no match requirement. “The challenge spurred them to aim higher and raise additional funds,” said Blake.
41 percent of the projects were related to parks/green space , including public art to create welcoming areas. “We say that our parks are
the front yards for the people who live in College Hill,” said Blake.
22 percent were for events and festivals to bring people together.
96 full-time jobs were created
as a result of funded activities and projects.
$9.1 million in economic impact.