Businesses sue to halt Albany redevelopment - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Businesses sue to halt Albany redevelopment

December 18, 2003

Albany-- A group of downtown business owners want to halt Albany's redevelopment, and they're taking their case to federal court.

Gold Coast Dream Cars and Trucks owner Milton Knighton says, "Now it's time for us to stop it and redirect and for us, all the citizens, to take our town back."

Ten downtown business owners have filed an injunction to stop Albany's downtown redevelopment. The reason? They say they've been left out of the process. Now, many of the businesses are just weeks away from being kicked out to make room for the new construction-- and they want it to stop now.

The Albany Tire and Battery Mart is a fixture at Front Street and Broad Avenue. Owner Paul Tyson says, "I've been here for some years, this business is 50-years-old. But, Tyson is moving, along with several other downtown businesses, to make room for Albany's redevelopment.

These owners are upset about that--but that's not the only problem. Knighton says, "No, that's not the only problem. The problem is we are being evicted from the whole process."

So, they have filed an injunction in federal court-- hoping to stop Albany Tomorrow's Master Plan from going forward without their input. Knighton says, "The board members should have been made up of people that are going to be affected. But, on the board of ATI there are none of the small business peoples in this area."

And these business owners say they were never asked what they thought of Albany's Downtown Redevelopment Plan. But, with the aquarium 80% finished and construction on the new hotel scheduled to start next month, this injunction might be too little, too late.

Knighton says, "It's all our fault because we didn't say anything. We laid back and we allowed everything to happen cause people asked us everyday, what they going to do, what they going to do. It's our tax dollars. They should be asking what are we doing right now, what are we going to do."

What the business owners are going to have to do now is wait to see whether a federal judge grants their injunction. ATI President Tommy Chatmon did not know anything about the business owner's lawsuit and did not want to comment on it.

Posted at 5:38 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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