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University Impact on Economic Development Mercer University Macon, Georgia.

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Presentation on theme: "University Impact on Economic Development Mercer University Macon, Georgia."— Presentation transcript:

1 University Impact on Economic Development Mercer University Macon, Georgia

2 Macon: Challenges Mid-sized city: 135,000 Declining population Continuing white flight Losing manufacturing base Struggling school system

3 Macon: Opportunities Growing region 160 miles from Savannahs port 75 miles from Atlanta Airport Intersection of I-75 & I-20 Intact historic downtown & intown neighborhoods--undervalued Largest medical complex between Jacksonville and Atlanta

4 Mercer University 7500 students 10 schools & colleges in Atlanta and Macon Princeton Review Highly Selective US News Top 10 Regional Universities Princeton Review College with a Conscience

5 Impact on Neighborhood Revitalization Direct University investment $630K Leveraged direct investment $53 million 213 new units multi-family 103 new & rehab units home ownership 44 low-income owner-occupied homes renovated 34 Mercer staff bought homes with down payment assistance

6 Bealls Hill Charrette & Urban Design and Architectural Guidelines awarded Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism in 2005

7 Impact on Downtown Revitalization Renovation and management of Grand Opera House Master lease on 150 loft apartments (first residential investment in downtown) Major multi-disciplinary medical clinic Hilton Garden Hotel Renovation of downtown block for office space (University & commercial)

8 Why the University?? Anchor institution with major investment in campus & historic identity in Macon Strong & varied human resources Broad economic perspective & understanding of urban problems

9 Building Partnerships Able to convene and facilitate partnerships across sectors Able to help shape holistic solutions to economic problems Able to bring long range and stable perspective to development

10 Leveraging Resources University brings fund raising and grant writing expertise University interest in vital community transcends bottom- line economic value of investment Access to marginal equity is often difference between success and failure

11 What It Takes Community Identifying common interests Building trust, communication, resilience Working with high capacity, reliable partners University Acknowledging the Universitys political and economic responsibility Acquiring hands- on expertise or creating reliable vehicle for investment

12 The Biggest Challenge? Incorporating Authentic Community Voice Distressed communities are inherently unequal in power Distressed communities rarely have well-developed political structures University may play dual role as neighborhood advocate and self-interested party

13 Peter C. Brown, Ph.D. Associate Vice President Mercer Center for Community Engagement

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