Downtown Albany's future not so bad after all - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Downtown Albany's future not so bad after all

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

It's not as bleak as some might assume. Those are the words of downtown Manager Aaron Blair.

Of the 20 businesses that opened their doors downtown over the past 2 years, only 4 have had to close, but their success is dependent upon growth that part of town hasn't seen.

It's been a question posed for years, what is the future of downtown Albany and what can be done to see the area prosper.

In January, Downtown Manager Aaron Blair plans to have a downtown meeting to take an overview look at the last two years and discuss future plans.

"That will give an opportunity for the private sector, the citizens, everyone to kind of come out and get an idea of what has happened, and where we are going and what things are underway," said Aaron Blair, Downtown Manger.

Over the past two years, about 20 new businesses have opened their doors downtown.

But Café 230 and Global Essence and the Pizza Shop couldn't stay afloat and had to close their doors and another business relocated.

Blair says the future of downtown is not as bleak as some people might believe.

"If you look at the overall goal, and the overall plan, we are still having great success for the fact that almost 80% of those are still here and operating," said Blair.

One of those businesses that have continued to thrive is the Daily Bread.

Jason Warren bought the downtown Farmers market in August 2011, and by February 2012 he was celebrating the grand opening of The Daily Bread.

He says they have been through highs and lows just like any business, but have managed to succeed by evolving.

"Make sure we are keeping it changed up, and keeping it different, and evolving, someone told us we should be a forever evolving business," said Jason Warren, The Daily Bread Owner.

The private sector has invested over $2,000,000 in the last two years into downtown growth and the goal for 2013 is to continue that investment.

City officials also want to focus on increasing residential areas downtown.

"That is going to be key for us, because more bodies, the more expendable income, in turn means more businesses," said Blair.

The downtown meeting will be held the second week in January.

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