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End nearing for Albany Tomorrow?

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

August 13, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The organization is wrapping up its final projects and will likely be out of money within a year.

So, what will happen to the group and the employees who work for ATI?

The Flint Riverquarium, Riverfront park, Bridgehouse, Ray Charles Plaza, Civil Rights expansion, Thronateeska Planetarium were all made possible because of the efforts of Albany Tomorrow.

"I think ATI has done an incredible job with the time frame it's been here and what it was assigned to do," said ATI Chairman Dr. C.W. Grant.

But those assignments are now essentially over, as all but one project for ATI is expected to be finished within the next couple of months. So what's next?

"To be perfectly honest, I think that at the end of the project that we're going to have to sit down and come up with a time table for the lack of a better word, of phasing out ATI as we know it," Grant said.

Once those projects are over, development fees that the organization currently receive will stop. The city is giving ATI $150,000 through June of 2009. Then there will be no income stream to pay the five employees who work for the organization.

Asked if they have been told to go ahead and start looking, Grant replied "No. No. No," said Grant. "Is that going to happen? I would certainly say yes."

Project Director Kenneth Cribb says he's disappointed Albany Tomorrow's Future is bleak, but is proud of the work he's been able to accomplish.

"ATI has contributed a lot to this community, a lot to trying to develop this community and it's going to be different. It's going to be different," Cribb says.

"If ATI has no business," said Grant, "then ATI has no business to exist."

And unless new investors in downtown are found, ATI will almost certainly close its doors.

Less than a quorum attended the meeting, so they couldn't vote on anything.

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