Each year, NewTown recognizes businesses, organizations, and individuals who have demonstrated exceptional passion and commitment to the revitalization of downtown Macon. With support from Cadence Bank, NewTown Macon’s Partners in Progress awards are given following the organization’s annual Tour of Progress showcasing the growth and change in downtown Macon. Awards are given in the following ten categories: R. Kirby Godsey Leadership, Juanita T. Jordan Community Service, Growing Jobs, Increasing Residents, Creating a Sense of Place, 360 Degrees, Special Recognition, Emerging Partner, Emerging Leader, and Downtown Ambassador. Awards may or may not be given in every category. This year, nine categories had award recipients.
The Partners in Progress Award for Growing Jobs goes to individuals, businesses, or organizations strengthening the quantity and quality of jobs in the downtown area. This year’s recipient is First Choice Primary Care for moving their office location to a newly renovated historic building and adding 10 new jobs to the Central Business District.
The Partners in Progress Award for Creating a Sense of Place winner may establish a popular event; improve the aesthetics of downtown; create a business, which attracts people to downtown; protect or preserve an endangered building or property; strengthen the community; or enhance public space. This year’s recipient is Barks N Brews for transforming an under-utilized greenspace into a premier dog park and bar that welcomes a growing, and lovable, audience to downtown Macon -our canine companions.
The Partners in Progress Award for Increasing Residents goes to individuals, businesses, or organizations that may directly increase residents by renovating or building structures that house lofts, apartments, or condominiums or by financing residential development or promoting downtown living. This year’s recipient is Macon-Bibb County and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for investing and leveraging American Rescue Plan funds into affordable rental housing.
The Emerging Leader Award goes to an organization or individual that has made significant contributions to Downtown Macon and has demonstrated the potential for leadership and continuing service. This year’s recipients are Peyton Jeter and DeMarcus Beckham. Peyton Jeter serves as the Marketing Director for the Macon Centreplex and Macon City Auditorium and actively volunteers her time to improve our community through organizations like the Downtown Macon Community Association, Real IMPACT, and Georgia Industrial Children’s Home. DeMarcus Beckham serves as the Special Events Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Georgia. DeMarcus is known for creating a more inclusive and equitable Central Georgia through his work with Macon Pride, Reach to Impact, and Georgia Equality.
The Downtown Ambassador Award goes to an individual or organization acting as a representative or promoter of downtown. The nominee may encourage the community to frequent, live, shop, or recreate downtown. This year’s recipient is Stacy Lane for her tenacious love and relentless cheerleading of downtown Macon to her spheres of influence and her contributions to downtown events and Main Street Macon.
The Special Recognition Award is presented to an individual or organization for outstanding efforts in a specific area of revitalization of downtown or community improvement. This year’s recipient is Bert Maxwell Furniture for celebrating 50 years of business in their downtown storefront on Second Street.
The 360 Degrees Award honors individuals, businesses, or organizations that are improving all aspects of downtown. The 360 Degrees award winner exhibits a commitment to all three of NewTowns’ focus areas: increasing residents, growing jobs, and creating a sense of place. This year’s award recipient is Hotel Forty Five for transforming one of downtown’s iconic buildings into a 94-room boutique hotel, resulting in dozens of new jobs, 3 new culinary concepts, and a $39 million investment.
The Juanita Jordan Community Service Award is given to an individual or organization who has gone above and beyond in the field of service within our community. This year’s award is posthumously given to Steven Fulbright for his dedication and career of celebrating and promoting Macon to local, regional, and national audiences.
The R. Kirby Godsey Leadership Award is presented to an individual whose accomplishments and professional contributions to downtown’s revitalization have been outstanding and innovative. This year’s award recipient is Chris Sheridan for his vision to build and expand the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail so that all Maconites have access to the Ocmulgee River and recreational greenspace.