Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Little Richard's Macon home gets new life amid highway construction

Highway construction can divide neighborhoods and destroy history. But one Macon landmark has found new life amid the reconstruction of the I-75/I-16 interchange. 

The Georgia Department of Transportation has relocated Little Richard’s childhood home, which will become a community center. It’s part of GDOT’s $12 million effort to mitigate construction effects in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood around the interchange. 

The interchange originally was built in the 1960s, when little thought was often given to the effects of highway construction on surrounding neighborhoods. Times – and federal law – have changed. Among other things, GDOT is paying to relocate 24 homes affected by the construction, create a linear park in the neighborhood and develop a heritage tour highlighting structures of historical interest in the area. 

Little Richard’s home – now a bright yellow box – was moved last year (The Macon Telegraph has a fun video here). The rock and roll pioneer blessed the effort on his 85th birthday in December. 

The mitigation money is a tiny fraction of the $500 million GDOT will spend in coming years on the new interchange – a key freight and commuter junction. 

“There was a positive outcome for a neighborhood that was definitely affected in the ‘60s,” GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week. 

You can learn more about the I-75/I-16 interchange project – and more about the neighborhood mitigation effort – here.

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About the Author

David Wickert writes about transportation issues for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He previously worked for newspapers in Washington state, Illinois, Virginia and Tennessee.