Viewpoint: ASU can cross the river

We are beginning another tough financial year balancing our State's budget.

Albany State University needs funding for a fine arts hall. $1.8 million in design money is now in the Governor's proposed budget, with another $27 Million needed to complete the project.

My question is why not use our tax dollars more efficiently, to benefit several of Albany's needs, not just those of ASU?

To continue to only consider locations for ASU facilities "on campus" will continue to isolate ASU, and not reach its potential to grow together… with Albany.

ASU needs not just a performance hall, but classrooms, practice rooms, galleries, labs, & studios.

Locating ASU's fine arts hall and related facilities downtown, using the existing Municipal Auditorium as a center piece, will link ASU with Albany more than ever before.

We have a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to merge the legitimate needs of ASU, with the absolute necessity for our growth and development downtown. We are presently not taking full advantage of the ASU students, just across the river, to support our present and future downtown businesses.

We all know how seldom our auditorium is used, and yet, what we have in a beautiful, historic, facility.

We should follow the excellent example in Columbus, with the downtown location of Columbus University's fine arts hall, and several other college facilities. Hundreds of students, away from main campus, patronizing downtown businesses, and eating at downtown restaurants, is a wonderful thing to see.

Dr. Freeman can be praised for his previous efforts to locate the ASU bookstore at a downtown location. Let's pick up this idea again, and this time, get it done.

City leaders should be talking to Albany State leadership and alumni, about these exciting opportunities. Shared development between ASU and downtown is a magic bullet for success.