ATI leader says goodbye, work continues - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ATI leader says goodbye, work continues

January 10, 2007

Albany - Today downtown Albany is a much different place than it was years ago, thanks to the work of Albany Tomorrow. A lot of that is because of the leadership of one man. The board of Albany tomorrow gave Tommy Chatmon a standing ovation today at his last board meeting. Board Chairman, Emily Jean McAfee was emotional as she thanked Chatmon for his service to Albany and Southwest Georgia.

Chatmon says he's proud of all he's seen happen in Albany while working with Albany Tomorrow. He says, "The old term is bittersweet because I'm certainly excited about the next chapter in my life, new challenges on a different level, that's exciting as well, but Albany is home and very special to me. I love it."

Chatmon is leaving Albany for a job in Orlando, Florida. His last day on the job here is February 2nd. Greg McCormick was named and ratified by the ATI Board as the interim President of Albany Tomorrow until a search committee finds a permanent replacement.

The Show Must Go On

Although Chatmon is leaving Albany, his vision is not. The Albany Tomorrow Board and staff are working harder than ever to revitalize downtown Albany. They plan to do that by continuing a partnership with the city and county.

What has ATI done for the city of Albany? Well, a lot. Albany Tomorrow brought us Riverfront park, the Flint Riverquarium, a new law enforcement center, and gateway projects. Emily Jean McAfee says,  "We've made a lot of progress, just got some more work to do and that's a good thing."

More work that's already in the works, like expanding the Civil Rights museum, renovating the Bridge House, and building the Ray Charles Plaza. Outgoing ATI President Tommy Chatmon says that's just the start.  He says, "The best is definitely yet to come, we've come a long way from where we were."

One area where ATI will continue to focus, is bringing more people downtown through residential properties. "We've gotta have customers," says McAfee.  "If you have residents, you have apartments and condos, you end up creating folks who shop or eat or whatever it is that spends money that makes a private business successful."

And Chatmon says renewing and strengthening current business relationships will help the whole of downtown.  He says, "I think a lot of people see a lot of negativism right now with the city and ATI, but I think coming out of that will be more clean and concise understandings and mutual understandings and a stronger partnership." A partnership for a better Tomorrow in Albany.

One of the top priorities for the Albany Tomorrow Board will also be hiring a new downtown manager to work directly with merchants to help make them more successful.

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