comments on the State of the Community

Thursday, February 13, 2020

 

    I would like to thank Mayor Reichert for giving a State of the Community Address today that highlighted so many of the wonderful things that our beloved community has to offer. North Macon has more new businesses than it can handle. We have seen significant progress in the revitalization of downtown. A thriving downtown is a wonderful thing and a great foundation for future growth, but we have more work to do. What does it serve our community to have downtown as an island of prosperity while the closing of businesses and the lack of investment is creating oceans of despair throughout other parts of our community? We must pursue and demand economic equality.

    

    We can see the effect of economic injustice throughout our community and this injustice has far reaching consequences including lower household incomes, fewer job and business opportunities, a lack of quality housing, reduced services, inadequate education and a overall lower quality of life. We cannot continue to allow the resources of Macon Bibb to be unequally divided among our communities.

    

    I know that the challenges that face us can seem too big and too entrenched, and I know at times that we may begin to lose hope that the future can be bright for all of Macon and not just for some select parts of Macon. For example, we can take decisive action and work with Planning and Zoning, Neighborhood Associations, Arts and Beautification groups and the business community to come up with innovative ways to fight blight that involves more than just tearing down houses and leaving nothing in their place. We can eliminate food deserts. We can reinvest in the Eisenhower and Pio Nono Corridor. We can bring restaurants and new businesses to East Macon, West Macon and South Macon.

    

    Together we can work together to make Vineville Avenue, Vining Circle, Bloomfield Avenue, and Duncan Avenue safe places to live again. Yes, we need recreation centers, but we also need to make sure that our children and our seniors feel safe going to and from them. We must not allow ourselves to become desensitized to the senseless killing of our youth on a daily basis. We must address the root causes. We can no longer accept that crime and violence are beyond our ability to control and reduce. We can no longer accept living in a city where almost 30% of our citizens are living in poverty.


    We can make infrastructure and transportation a priority. If we can fight for passenger rail between Macon and Atlanta and the other major cities in our state then we can ensure sustained prosperity for our city. We can slowdown the loss of our population especially the loss of our children to other areas. Our young people want to live where there are opportunities and their parents don’t want to have to catch a plane to see their grandchildren.


    I don’t claim to have all of the answers, but what I do know is that when we come together and work together to address these issues, then we will start to see real change. These are the issues that are dear to my heart and these are the issues that I thought were so important and so urgent that they drove me to run for Mayor of Macon-Bibb. The State of the Community needs work, but together we can make this city what we know it can be. 


Together we can Win for Macon-Bibb.


Clifford Whitby