Think Community is not just a catchy phrase. According to Bibb County Commission Chairman, Sam Hart, "it's a new way of life for the citizens of our community." Chairman Hart is excited about the many quality projects taking place throughout the community that have been initiated during his tenure as Chairman.
More than 300 new warehouse distribution center jobs are being filled by Tractor Supply Company, located in south Bibb County. Hart and other county commissioners remain actively involved with the 21st Century Partnership--an organization that works to protect jobs at Robins Air Force Base.
In keeping with the national efforts to preserve our environment, conserve energy and promote eco-friendly products, Bibb County is leading the way by turning over a new leaf and "going green."
On any given day, citizens may see county officials driving around town in hybrid cars and zero emission electric utility vehicles. And, Bibb County has gotten a bit more eco-friendly with the installation of a new electric charging station which is the first of many that are being installed in the county. Located in front of the Bibb County courthouse, downtown Macon, the charging station is open to the public and will offer drivers of electric vehicles the opportunity to re-charge their cars at no cost.
As summer temperatures are sure to reach record highs, Chairman Hart is proud to report that the county's youth and adults can beat the heat and enjoy affordable public swimming and access to the amenities at Lake Tobesofkee. Several public pools offer free swimming lessons and the adjoining recreation facilities have many exciting activities for the neighborhood youth and seniors -- such as arts and crafts, games and athletics.
Additionally, repairs, renovations, and enhancements to the county's parks and recreation facilities are also underway. Residents throughout the county have already begun to enjoy the new look and feel of new roofs, flooring, tennis courts, improved lighting and security systems as well as new air conditioning and heating systems.
Hart says the commissioners support a long-term move to fewer--but bigger and better parks. For example, a regional park is planned for "sub south" Bibb County. While the property for this project has not yet been identified, the project could become a model for the county's future recreational venues.
Given the multitude of recent residential and industrial fires, the addition of three new fire stations--two in county and one in the city--will greatly enhance first responder services for residents and businesses in Macon and Bibb County. Construction of Fire Station #109 on Forsyth Road has been completed and an open house is planned to allow the public to tour the new facility. Fire Station #110 on Heath Road is scheduled to open in the winter of 2014.
There is even more good news to report! Construction of a $7 million Juvenile Justice Center, located at the corner of Second and Oglethorpe Streets, near the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center, has begun. The Commissioners, juvenile court judges and court officials all acknowledge that a new building was gravely needed for better coordination of courts services, probation, rehabilitation/prevention services for juvenile offenders and children of abuse.
Under the current arrangement at the Bibb County courthouse, Juvenile Court Judges often complain that hallways fill up with more than 100 kids and parents usually waiting on arraignment. They report that juveniles in custody are paraded to their hearings in front of the public waiting area because there is no other room. In many cases, people are being jammed into conference rooms that are no bigger than a closet.
Also under construction is the county’s brand new, 11,000 square feet animal welfare center, which replaces the 32-year-old shelter located near the county landfill. The property is situated on ten acres and Hart says, "Citizens from many segments of the community were elated to hear about the news of a much needed, upgraded facility that is being built." It will be an optimal facility for the animals, the public and employees. The shelter is designed to be low-kill and will include a dog park and walking trails for visitors.
Lastly, Chairman Hart is proud of Macon-Bibb's designation as an Age Friendly Community--a distinction granted by the AARP and the World Health Organization (WHO). During 2012, Macon-Bibb County became the first American community to join an elite worldwide network of age-friendly communities. Local leadership and citizens have been working toward becoming more accessible, convenient and, ultimately, more user-friendly for older Americans and their family members.
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