City-ATI meet to clear the air - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City-ATI meet to clear the air

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March 8, 2007

Albany -  Albany commissioners and members of ATI's executive Board met Thursday to talk about the objectives for downtown Albany. No decisions were made, but a dialogue that has lacked between the two organizations was started.

The success of Albany Tomorrow is unquestionable. Without them we wouldn't have Riverfront park, the Flint Riverquarium or the Hilton Garden Inn. "I want it to flourish down here," says Emily Jean McAfee. She chairs the board of Albany Tomorrow. She says the role of the organization is changing and that role needs to be redefined for everyone to have a clear understanding.

"This is a point of opportunity to get clarity on roles and responsibility. And if it's half done there and half done here we would just like to coordinate."

That's why a joint meeting was held with city commissioners. To get rid of some of the tension that's been building. "Today's meeting was to clear the air of controversies between the commissioners and the ATI executive board," says City Commissioner Tommy Postell.

There still isn't a whole lot of clarity about what path ATI, ADICA and the city want to go. ATI says it still plans to focus on big projects. "The responsibility of the projects is still ours," says McAfee, "but we would still like to be engaged in what's going on in downtown Albany."

And they could do that in concert with a downtown manager, though it's still not clear who that person would answer to.  Postell says, "Downtown Albany can be motivated when they know the commissioners and ATI are not frictionally fighting." And when they are all fighting for the future of Downtown Albany together.

City commissioners present at Thursday's meeting said they would support signing another two year contract with ATI and providing them with some funding.

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