Reviving the MLK Corridor: Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful’s Tree Planting Project Flourishes

Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful takes pride in its tree planting project, designed to revitalize the historically significant MLK corridor. Asha Ellen, Director of Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful, envisioned a project that would bring not only positive change to the city but also foster community pride. This initiative was made possible by the Martin Luther King Neighborhood Grant from Keep America Beautiful® (KAB) in partnership with sponsor Diageo. 

The history of the MLK corridor in Macon-Bibb is rich and vibrant. Once a hub of entertainment and a key location for minority business owners’ residences and workplaces, this part of town held great significance. In line with the aspiration to “make this city work for everybody,” expressed by Janice Habersham, the board chair of Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful, collaborative efforts with the community are underway to rejuvenate this zone.  

Upon receiving the KAB Martin Luther King Neighborhood Grant, Asha decided the most effective means of supporting the area was through tree planting. She explained that in most urban communities with extensive concrete and limited greenery, high heat index scores prevail. This lack of shade poses a challenge for public transport users who endure intense heat while waiting for buses.  

Asha collaborated with the local Parks and Beautification Department to receive guidance on selecting appropriate tree species, optimal placement, and the formulation of a long-term care regimen. Michael Glisson, the Director of the Parks and Beautification Department, shed light on this process, emphasizing the selection of hardy trees that could withstand drought and urban pollution, given the conditions of urban regions like Macon-Bibb. This led to the planting of 30 trees, including 25 Brandy Wine Maple trees, 3 Yoshino Cherry trees, and 2 Robinson Crabapple trees. 

While the tree-planting initiative was just one aspect of Macon-Bibb’s strategy to rejuvenate the MLK corridor, Janice emphasized its importance in illustrating that well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing environments play a role in fostering a personal sense of pride in one’s community. This endeavor not only shields community members from the heat but also uplifts their spirits through its beautification efforts. 

Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful’s MLK corridor tree planting is a testament to community-driven change. It revives pride and unity, echoing Dr. King’s spirit. A remarkable example of enhancing neighborhoods through shared commitment.

Jennifer Lawson

Presient and CEO, Keep America Beautiful

The transformation will be celebrated on August 27th through a city-wide block party. Approximately 300 community members are expected to gather, commemorating the change alongside residents and businesses in the area. The event will feature live performances, African drumming, culinary delights, and various engaging activities.  

Your own community can draw benefits from similar initiatives aimed at beautification and community enhancement. If your affiliate program identifies an avenue to uplift an MLK area in your locality, consider applying for a Keep America Beautiful® Martin Luther King Neighborhood Grant. 

>>Keep America Beautiful Community Grants Link 

About Keep Macon Bibb Beautiful

Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful is recognized as a model program for the nation’s first commission under the Keep America Beautiful, Inc. systems. Established in 1974 by a joint ordinance of the City of Macon and Bibb County, we aim to inspire the citizens of Macon-Bibb County to act daily to improve and beautify our community. The ultimate success of Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful led to the creation of the first state Keep America Beautiful system- The Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation in 1978 and the creation of its own beautification/signature event- Macon, Georgia’s International Cherry Blossom Festival in 1983. We strive to improve the quality of life in the Macon-Bibb community through litter prevention, recycling, and beautification. For more information, visit

About Keep America Beautiful®:

Keep America Beautiful®, the nation’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful® strives to End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green, and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision. The organization is driven by the work and passion of 700 Keep America Beautiful® affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. Join us on FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedin, and YouTubeDonate and take action at


McCall Vrydaghs

Keep America Beautiful®