Revolving Fund Summit a Resounding Success

Posted February 22nd, 2018 by maryalbro and filed in News & Announcements
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The first Revolving Fund Summit, made possible by The 1772 Foundation, was held in Macon, GA, from February 11-13. It brought together over 100 attendees representing over 50 cities and 26 states and provided them a unique opportunity to learn from one another. The Historic Macon Foundation hosted the event and, as its executive director, Ethiel Garlington, stated, the city of Macon was used as a “classroom to demonstrate a variety of revolving fund models.”

Summit attendees checked in and enjoyed an opening reception at the Hay House on Sunday evening. Owned by The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Johnston-Felton-Hay House was built from 1855-1859 in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. It is one of Georgia’s most historic houses and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974. Following welcoming remarks by B. Danforth Ely, the president of The 1772 Foundation, behind-the-scenes tours of the mansion were offered.

The first full day of the Summit, began with a walking/biking tour of Beall’s Hill, where tools such as historic tax credits, public-private partnerships (the City of Macon and Mercy University) and a robust revolving fund transformed a vacant neighborhood into a vibrant community. This was followed by a presentation explaining how a partnership with a land bank authority can be integral to property acquisition, as it was in Beall’s Hill. A lunchtime tour of Mill Hill provided an opportunity to learn about Macon’s latest revolving fund project, focusing on the arts as the core driver of redevelopment. Mill Hill:East Macon Arts Village will develop an artist village in the historic Fort Hawkins neighborhood to address blight issues and foster economic opportunity. The third tour of the day was of downtown Macon. Staff of NewTown Macon and local business owners explained how innovative redevelopment strategies and creating a sense of place have contributed to revitalization. A thriving downtown requires people who both work and live there. Businesses opening in formerly vacant storefronts and 500 loft units have attracted residents to downtown Macon, which are essential to its economic renaissance.


Monday evening, James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, gave the keynote address – It’s Happening Here and Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed. The signs are those he identified as he traveled across the country. His presentation was followed by a panel discussion with representatives from Macon Action Plan and the National Main Street Center, who explained how the eleven signs are evident in their communities. Melissa Jest, Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Historic Preservation Division, moderated the discussion. The entire evening was open to the public- an incredible, free community-wide event.


On the 13th, the day began with a presentation by Michael Sriprasert, the president of Landmarks Development Corporation and Landmarks Community Capital Corporation of Pittsburgh, PA. He was last year’s recipient of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award. Mr. Sriprasert explained how a variety of redevelopment tools were used to save an entire Pittsburgh neighborhood, while maintaining affordability for its residents.

Following this presentation, Mary Anthony, the executive director of The 1772 Foundation, moderated a panel discussion on creative funding strategies. Panelists were Cara Ferrentino of the William Penn Foundation, Lynn Murphey of the Knight Foundation, and Kathy Kottaridis, the executive director of Historic Boston Incorporated.

The Summit wrapped up with a lunchtime recap of key ideas and themes that emerged during the event.