News & Press
Georgia Trend Cover Story: Macon in the future
Pat Topping believes that over the next two decades his city will see the fruits of years of investment downtown. “My vision for Macon in 25 years is a vibrant downtown, with residential on second and third floors with business, retail, small locally owned restaurants, and hover craft shops on [the] first floor.”
Yes, Topping sees a futuristic, “Jetson-esque” Macon as a middle Georgia transportation hub:
“Our Terminal Station is abuzz with activity as passengers board commuter rail for Atlanta to connect to high-speed electromagnetic trains to other parts of the U.S.,” he says. “Light rail moves people from suburbs and surrounding cities to work in their corporate HQ offices, regional offices and other professional occupations in downtown. The light rail also connects people in middle Georgia.”
With better transportation connections, Topping sees more tourism in Macon – of the cultural, historical and ecological variety. The well-known and well-attended Cherry Blossom Festival held in the spring combines all those elements. He’d like to see additional activity.
“The Riverfront Development attracts tourists from all over the southeast to our unique shops, restaurants, concert venues and breathtaking landscaping,” he predicts. “Research conducted at the University of Georgia has produced a cherry tree that blooms year round, resists pest and disease and can also grow as low-lying shrubs and indoor plants. Young professionals and empty nesters reside in the many apartments that overlook the river. Four new boat ramps serve the canoe, raft and hover boat companies that dot the river all the way from the Bond Swamp to the Frank Amerson Waterworks Park.
“Parks line the river featuring picnic areas, walking and bike trails, observation towers and underground viewing stations. Lake Tobesofkee, a new Ritz-Carlton Resort, hosts the third annual G25 Summit on Education and World Hunger.”
Of course there will be corresponding economic development in Topping’s vision for his city.
“Macon has become the center for the new electronic commerce serving the international business community. Our buildings in the Historic Railroad District, the industrial hub of the late 1800s and early 1900s, have been renovated to their former grandeur and now house electric motor and battery manufacturers and high-tech design studios developing prototypes for the new electromagnetic cars that are being manufactured in one of our business parks.”
Growth at Robins Air Base in Warner Robins will spur aerospace investment, he believes. “Aerospace companies will be manufacturing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, telecommunication satellites and advanced radar. People- and thing-transporting devices will dot the parks around the Middle Georgia Regional Airport and Robins Air Force Base. The base will be home to the combined military special elite electronics warfare unit and forces.” – Ben Young