ADICA presents plan to stimulate outdoor tourism in Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ADICA presents plan to stimulate outdoor tourism in Albany

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ADICA Director Aaron Blair and Wayne Schaffner, a planning engineer, present Kayak and Canoe launching points to Dougherty County Commissioners at Monday's Meeting ADICA Director Aaron Blair and Wayne Schaffner, a planning engineer, present Kayak and Canoe launching points to Dougherty County Commissioners at Monday's Meeting
John Hayes, Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes, Dougherty County Commissioner
Aaron Blair, ADICA Director Aaron Blair, ADICA Director
Planned placement of two locations of the three launching points.  One located behind the Riverquarium (right), and another located behind the Ray Charles statue (left) Planned placement of two locations of the three launching points. One located behind the Riverquarium (right), and another located behind the Ray Charles statue (left)
Flint River, downtown Albany Flint River, downtown Albany
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Downtown Albany leaders want to use the Flint River to attract more tourists and businesses to town.

Monday, the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority presented a plan to Dougherty County Commissioners to build kayak and canoe launch points on the river.

Supporters said that could stimulate the economy and make the river safer for those who use it for recreation.

ADICA director Aaron Blair and county leaders said the Flint River is an untapped resource for tourism.  And they hope launching points could spark outside interest in the city.

The tranquil stretch of the Flint River through downtown Albany could become more active if kayak and canoe launching points are built in the Riverfront Park.

"We want to make sure we utilize all of the resources that we have.  That river, again, is one that we have very, very much under-utilized.  And so the timing is good, I think the project is a good one," said John Hayes, Dougherty County Commissioner. 

The idea is to build three launching points.  Two in the riverfront park behind the Riverquarium and the Ray Charles Statue.  Another will be placed next to the Georgia power dam.

"This will be one thing we that can help to stabilize that shoreline and just make it a safer environment for people to get in and  out of the water where currently they sometimes may have to struggle with the float to Flint at the Riverquarium.  It'll just make everything a lot easier for everybody and safer,"  (Aaron  Blair, ADICA Director. 

The project has earned the support of county commissioners.

"I think we should do all that we can to get behind and make sure that we can get it and use it for the greater good of our community, particularly in the downtown area," said Hayes. 

Planners hope the new launching points could attract new businesses in the downtown area, which could cater to outdoor enthusiasts. 

"We have some local outfitters around town and maybe they would have an interest in opening a second location that would cater to the Flint River, Riverfront park access.  Maybe the Riverquarium becomes the outfitter.  They have their own kayaks and canoes, so the opportunities are endless," Blair said. 

Blair said the project may finally be coming to a close after two years of planning.

"We've just got to finalize all of our permits with the state, local and federal.  Once all the review times are complete, we hope to go out for bids in the next month for these kayak launches, and...with construction starting in September or October," said Blair. 

He said some kayaks and canoes could be on these waters by late fall.

Planners are finalizing child safety at the launch points as well as handicap access to the ramps.  But they said they're ready to move onto the next phase of development.

Blair said Dougherty County won't have to pay for the project if it is approved.  ADICA will pick up the tab estimated at a few hundred-thousand-dollars.

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