One of Eight Organizations Recognized for Outstanding Downtown Revitalization Efforts

Main Street America named NewTown Macon as a 2024 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA) Semifinalist. This prestigious award is the nation’s top award recognizing communities for their excellence in comprehensive preservation-based commercial district revitalization. A jury of professionals and leaders in the fields of community and economic development and historic preservation convened to review a nationwide pool of applicants. After thoughtful deliberation, the jury unanimously selected eight semifinalists that demonstrate exemplary use of the Main Street Approach™ to lead community-based transformation strategies in their downtowns.

The 2024 GAMSA Semifinalists are:

Downtown Camas Association – Camas, Washington

Denison Main Street – Denison, Texas

Downtown Lansing, Inc. – Lansing, Michigan

NewTown Macon – Macon, Georgia

Madison Main Street Program – Madison, Indiana

Monroeville Main Street – Monroeville, Alabama

Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group – Mount Vernon, Iowa

Swiss Bear, Inc. – New Bern, North Carolina

“The Great American Main Street Award is the highest honor that we grant to organizations within our network,” said Matt Wagner, Chief Program Officer at Main Street America. “We are elated to recognize NewTown Macon and seven peer organizations as 2024 GAMSA Semifinalists for their incredible accomplishments in transforming their downtowns through innovative programs strategically designed to preserve their unique heritage, foster economic vitality, and create a welcoming atmosphere.”  

From neighborhood commercial corridors within larger cities to small towns with traditional downtowns, the 2024 GAMSA Semifinalists represent the diversity of the Main Street America network and the power of the Main Street Approach™. Semifinalists have generated over $1.48 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 881 net new businesses, facilitated the creation of 3,827 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 2,164 historic buildings, and leveraged 306,986 volunteer hours. 

“If I told you in 1996 that downtown Macon could be named one of the best downtowns in the country by 2024, only Juanita Jordan and the Peyton Anderson Foundation would have believed it.  Peyton Anderson made the impossible inevitable,” said Josh Rogers, President & CEO of NewTown Macon. “In the past 27 years, NewTown’s board, donors, volunteers, and staff did the right things, at the right time, the right way. This award shows that when Maconites bet on Macon, we always win.” 

For the past 27 years, NewTown Macon has played a pivotal role in spearheading the revitalization of downtown Macon. Prioritizing the local community and the preservation of our historic downtown, NewTown has been instrumental in creating an environment where Maconites build businesses and develop properties to build income and wealth. Notably, downtown Macon boasts more completed historic tax credit projects than any other Main Street district in the nation, transforming once-vacant spaces into thriving businesses. Storefront occupancy has increased from 30% in 1996 to an impressive 80% today, and downtown property values have surged by 83% over the last five years.

In 2021, NewTown Macon expanded its impact by becoming Central Georgia’s first and only Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Since then, it has provided essential training and financial support to the community, issuing 16 loans to Black entrepreneurs and 30 loans to women, people of color, and first-time borrowers. As a testament to community-driven development, 80% of the Macon Action Plan has been implemented by local residents through the Downtown Challenge Fund. This comprehensive and collaborative approach has culminated in a remarkable $958 million of public-private investment in Macon’s Central Business District. Through these efforts, downtown Macon has evolved into a vibrant hub where Maconites lead the city’s extraordinary revitalization.

The 2024 Great American Main Street Award winners will be announced at the opening plenary of the 2024 Main Street Now Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 6, 2024. Follow along with NewTown Macon on Facebook and Instagram until the awards ceremony to learn more about the Maconites who have made this designation possible and share your own downtown Macon story. 

About NewTown Macon

We are an independent nonprofit that focuses on economic development and revitalizing Downtown Macon. We make it safe and beautiful and fun and affordable. And we keep it local. We are located at 555 Poplar Street, Macon, GA 31201 and can be reached at (478) 722-9909. For more information, please visit newtownmacon.com

About the Great American Main Street Award

The Great American Main Street Award program recognizes communities exemplifying the use of the Main Street Approach™ to revitalize commercial districts. Winners are selected from a nationwide pool of applicants by a jury of Main Street professionals and leaders in the fields of community and economic development and historic preservation. Since the award’s inception in 1995, over 100 Main Street programs have been honored as GAMSA communities. For more information, visit mainstreet.org.

About Main Street America 

Main Street America leads a movement committed to strengthening communities through preservation-based economic development in older and historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. For more than 40 years, Main Street America has provided a practical, adaptable, and impactful framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization through the Main Street Approach™. Our network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information, visit mainstreet.org.

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