Middle Georgia State University will receive $1.2 million in American Rescue Plan money to build a new athletic facility, officials announced Tuesday.
The grant comes from the Economic Development Administration with the intent to boost tourism in the area by creating a better event space.
The facility will be part of the school’s varsity cross country facility and is gated. The course, once upgraded, should attract tourism from a variety of other events including local high school cross country practices, Mercer cross country events and Macon events.
“The building adds important facilities to the cross country course that make it easier to host events here that will draw tourism, which is great,” said Trey Crisp, facilities director at MGA. “Macon-Bibb recognizes that this can be really great not only for the institution, but for the entire community.”
MGA estimates that the facility could raise an additional $1 million in tourism money through the new events thanks to its location near Interstate 475 and the new and improved features, which will include a training room, showers, restrooms, locker rooms and concessions for any events held at the course.
“We are extremely excited about this announcement and future opportunities for Middle Georgia State and our region and state,” Macon Mayor Lester Miller said. “One of the areas we, as a community, are focusing on based on public input is the need to increase recreation and tourism opportunities, and we’re honored to have MGA be an active part of Team Macon-Bibb in that effort.”
Community events that have been hosted at the course in the past include Cherry Blossom 5Ks and Reindeer Runs. Crisp hopes that the course will eventually host the GHSA cross country championships as well.
“The facility last year alone saw 6,000 spectators and runners combined, and it’s staggering to think that we need that much parking,” Crisp said. “This is truly a community project at this point, so we want everyone to understand it’ll be there for their events too.”
The project has been in talks for around five years, and is intended to be done in fall of 2023. Groups will be able to contact MGA if they want to use the gated facility.