Commission makes important move on downtown issue - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Commission makes important move on downtown issue

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May 16, 2007

Albany --  It looks like an entertainment area known as a Riverfront District may be possible for Albany after all. Within the next few weeks, city commissioners will review possible zoning changes that would drop the one thousand foot spacing rule on bars within the district.

The Flint River is one of Albany's best assets, that hasn't been utilized to it's full potential. "We think the city ought to be focused on this river.  It's certainly one of our best assets," said Asst. City Manager James Taylor.

So Taylor says let's focus entertainment around it, and on both sides. The proposed location would be bordered by Radium Springs to the East, Whitney on the South, Jefferson on the West, and Residence to the North. 

Business Owner Bo Henry is happy to hear the plan. "We need a boost for Downtown now," said Henry.

He says that boost could come from himself and other business partners opening four or five new businesses, bars mostly, at one time.  Call it the grand opening of Downtown Albany's nightlife. "We just want some entertainment and people to have a reason to come downtown after 5PM," said Henry.

But with the after five crowd, come some grownup worries. One of the concerns of having an entertainment district is that it could become a red light district of sorts, and discourage kids and families from coming to the area.

Assistant City Manager James Taylor says the best way to make sure that doesn't happen is by mixing up the types of entertainment within the district.  Some for all age groups. "You don't want all these things so close to each other, such that during the day time it's dead and at night then it comes to life, so you want to intersperse other things as well, retail, so the community, the blocks are alive and vital day and night."

To revitalize the life of downtown Albany, and keep it flowing into the future. Commissioners should vote on the proposed zone changes within the next few weeks.

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