Beall’s Hill Neighborhood Revitalization Project
In 1998, Mercer University and the City of Macon agreed to partner to spark the revitalization of the historic Beall’s Hill neighborhood adjacent to Mercer’s main campus in Macon. This Victorian-era neighborhood had been in serious decline for thirty years, increasingly depopulated and dilapidated. The Beall’s Hill Project is regarded as the most significant community redevelopment in Macon in the past fifty years. The rebuilt neighborhood is envisioned as a model "New Urbanist" mixed-income, mixed-use, walkable community. The University is committed to being a good neighbor and to continuing to help to lead this important initiative.
Activities and Accomplishments
- Mercer students and faculty have helped lead cleanup and fix-up campaigns, offered leadership training to local residents and neighborhood organizations, tutored in local schools and after-school programs, conducted neighborhood surveys, done marketing research, compiled property status reports, collected oral histories, analyzed environmental hazards, built Habitat homes, and offered health education.
- Mercer University wrote over $2 million in successful federal, foundation, and corporate grants to support the Project.
- In 2001, Mercer and the Knight Program in Community Building at the University of Miami School of Architecture sponsored a public design process for the neighborhood, which became the basis for an ambitious revitalization plan.
- In 2003, Mercer, the City of Macon, and the Macon Housing Authority formed the Beall’s Hill Development Corporation to implement the plan, joined by the Land Bank Authority and the Historic Macon Foundation.
- Over $50 million have been invested in the Project to date by the partnership from all sources.
- The University offers a down payment assistance program to Mercer employees who buy a home in the revitalized neighborhood.
- 42 dilapidated structures have been demolished.
- 22 new homes have been built on vacant lots.
- 10 historic homes have been rehabilitated.
- 44 low-income home owners have received financial assistance to improve their homes.
- Street lights, sidewalks and parks have been added.
- An historic, award-winning magnet elementary school has been rebuilt and expanded.
- 188 units of sixty-year-old obsolete public housing has been demolished and replaced with 97 units of new, historically compatible townhomes.
- 11 of the new home owners in the neighborhood are Mercer faculty and staff.
- Home ownership has increased 38 percent since 2000.