Jefferson Award Nominee: Frank Austin

Frank Austin / WGXA

Frank Austin of Macon is definitely a man who makes things happen. He's on the front lines of the fight to eradicate blight and reduce crime in parts of Macon.

He is this month's Jefferson Award winner.

Seven years ago Austin saw what could become of a place many people had left for ruin.

In the Village Green Shalom Zone you'll find plenty of boarded up houses, over grown yards and hazard areas where children could get hurt.

Austin saw something more.

"This community have all the pieces to be a driving community" he said.

The Village Green neighborhood was built up in the 1960s. This was a time of growth for Macon. In the early 80s the job market went down, factories closed and the economic climate began to decay. Village Green was one of the hardest hit areas.

Neighbors would feel the effects for decades to come.

It took a person willing to roll up their sleeves and start the rebuilding process.

"All kids deserve an environment to be safe, to be clean. It's very important we have that opportunity," Austin said.

With the help of volunteers, Austin has put in time tearing down blighted homes and rebuilding safe places for people to live.

He's torn down a lot of walls.

"We have a selection process for a homeless family to be inserted into this property once we finish," he said.

Austin's vision is to see a flourishing Macon where all residents have opportunities to thrive economically, socially & academically.

"I see a new community being formed, built on the inside," he said. "I see the community participating in the economics and help build from within."

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