Celebrating A Macon trail with Art, Campfires, and Storytelling
We had previously worked in Macon, with the "Lost Keys", "Macon Haikus" "Walk Your City" and other projects done by the Macon League Chapter. We went back to Macon and met with local leaders and partners to identify an area in Macon that was in need of a creative intervention. We partnered with Bike Walk Macon, Newtown Macon, and the Knight Foundation. Together we decided on the Macon Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, as it touched numerous neighborhoods, was connected with downtown and a had an existing area for residents of all ages to enjoy that could be improved.
We started with a community clean up and vision walk to hear from residents and trail visitors how they feel about the trail, how often they visit the trail and what they want more of at the trail followed by an online community survey.
From this, Trail Tales was designed as a family friendly event inviting residents of Macon to celebrate the beauty of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail. Local artists, musicians and neighbors joined the conversation about what they love about the trail and its future as it begins to see redevelopment in the surrounding areas. The result was inspiring. Residents painted murals together, listened to live local musicians, played yard games, shared stories, colored the weeds, shared s'mores and gave insights as to what they wish to see on the trail in the future.
The temporary space activation kickstarted a dialogue that will continue for years to come, hopefully drawing inspiration from memories shared that night. Participants took home beautifully designed Ocmulgee Heritage Trail postcards. Pick one up at NewTown Macon before they are gone. We were happy to have the Bibb County Mentor’s Project and Mercer University’s Office of Community Engagement involved who provided over 10 volunteers to help with set-up and temporary artwork for the event.
Also, we were able to give 8 youth from the Mentor's Project a small honorarium to demonstrate the importance of being compensated for their art work and skills to help the event come to life.
“I’m thrilled so many neighbors came out and shared their thoughts about how the trail can thrive in the future. I hope the creative ideas documented during Trail Tales can inspire future meaningful improvements to our favorite trail!
— Rachel Hollar, Bike Walk Macon
“It was inspiring to see people represented from over 9 zip codes in our city and even people who have never visited the trail at the event. It made me realize how many more people the trail could attract with the right programming and services.”
— David Moore, NewTown Macon
Photos by Cameron Shaw
READ WHAT PEOPLE SAID
What emotions do you feel on the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail?
Calm, Zen-ish, Quiet, Unity, Loud due to I-16 traffic, Spiritual, Peaceful, Happy, Hopeful, Connected, Special
What amenities would you like to see on the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail?
- Improved wayfinding signage
- Swinging benches
- Less noise (Noise barriers)
- More flowers and trees
- Improve landscaping efforts
- More public art
- Add picnic areas
- More benches
- More trashcans
- Improved lighting
- Better connections to downtown Macon and surrounding neighborhoods
- Programming (Music, events, etc.)
- Dirt path
- Story walk highlighting Native American history in Macon
- Cool and artistic litter prevention signage
- Bibb County Sheriff Bike Squad
*The data collected from the event will be shared with the Trail Board and appropriate city officials.