New DT manager about three months out? -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New DT manager about three months out?

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Albany city leaders want a new downtown manager who will build on the success of the Mardi Gras weekend.

Consultants will meet with Albany Dougherty Inter City Authority Board Members and city leaders next week to talk about what type of candidate they want to replace Don Buie.

City leaders say it must be someone with a development background who also understands marketing. They say finding a strong candidate may be a challenge since past problems continue to surface.

Thousands made their way this weekend here to the 200 block of West Broad Avenue for the Mardi Gras event, that's what the city wants from a new downtown manager and ADICA Director someone who's going to come up with events to drive people back into downtown.

More successful events like Mardi Gras... that's what assistant city manager and interim ADICA Director James Taylor would like to see downtown.

"We hope to have between April and October at least an event every month maybe two, but that's important to getting people downtown to see what's going on," said Interim ADICA Director Col. James Taylor.

 That's exactly what he hopes for in a new downtown manager, but a new manager must also be familiar with how tax allocation districts operate. Board members say they want someone with development experience.

"If we enter into the wrong kinds of development and it doesn't accomplish a benefit to the community then all the marketing in the world is no good," said ADICA Board Member Bob Kraselsky.

The Mercer Group will help finding the right person, they'll be in town next week getting details from city commissioners to ADICA Board Members. 

"We expect to spend some personal time with them, tour the downtown area and talk about projects that are going on as well as meet with ADICA Board representatives as well as some other individuals who we think can offer some help," said Assistant City Manager Wes Smith.

As ADICA tries to move forward, the past continues to surface. Former Dollar Square owner Tim Washington wants to meet with the board next month to explain why he's having problems repaying his 40-thousand dollar façade grant. 

"He said that he's currently unemployed, that he is doing the very best he can to pay it, he knows he needs to pay it, he'd rather pay it then go to jail," Taylor said.

Washington and ADICA board member Lajuana Woods made unapproved deals with former downtown manager Don Buie who pleaded guilty to theft. Woods is now up to date on her grant repayments, allowing the board to focus on getting new director in place before long.

They also want an ADICA Director and downtown manager who will focus on residential development downtown and who will push for the demolition of more dilapidated buildings.

City leaders hope to have a new downtown manager and ADICA Director in place in about three months.

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