COLUMBUS, Ga. – 23 community partners are promoting neighborhood projects for the Columbus, Phenix City, and Fort Benning region. The Together 2016 Campaign unveiled four projects Wednesday.
The campaign website received more than 200 project ideas and suggestions towards their $70,000 investment. The four neighborhood projects are Little Free Libraries, markers for the MLK Jr. Learning Trail, scholarships for high school students, and “Please be Seated” benches.
“These are free libraries. You take a book, you bring a book and there’s no obligation whatsoever. We hope that all sorts of people use them,” said project manager Marquette McKnight.
The Little Free Libraries are part of a national movement. McKnight says they plan to install more than 55 Free Little Libraries across the tri-city.
“Several of our partners had lived in other cities that had libraries and they said that they were a great boom even in neighborhoods that you wouldn’t necessarily think about needing a little free library,” McKnight said.
Together 2016 is made up of 23 community partners included businesses, education and non-profits. The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce is one of those partners.
“You don’t always tell your own citizens, ‘hey things are pretty good here.’ We’ve got things we can work on, but if we can tell the story about how we’re working together, how we’re telling Columbus’ entrepreneurial story, telling Columbus’ community story, and then also making investments in people. Those are important,” said Chamber President and CEO Brian Anderson.
The MLK Jr. Learning Trail is an outdoor learning trail to teach folks about the community’s past. The “Please be Seated” benches are aimed to give residents a comfortable place to sit. The scholarships will go to five local high school students.
“We think they’re going to have a really big impact on the neighborhoods that we live in and a good thing for all of the community to be involved with,” McKnight said.
The scholarships will be awarded in early 2017. The rest of the 50 plus Little Free Libraries will be installed in November and December.
Folks can volunteer to be a steward of the Little Free Libraries, help paint the Little Free Libraries, or donate books. Wade Cleaners is holding a book drive. They are accepting gently used and new books at any Wades Cleaners locations for the next two weeks.
The Together 2016 Campaign will be announcing one more project this year. They will announce the regional project at the end of this month.