Leaders invited to forum to help revitalize downtown Albany

Leaders invited to forum to help revitalize downtown Albany
Katy Hughes, Resident
Katy Hughes, Resident
Anthony Seay, Resident
Anthony Seay, Resident

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany leaders get some advice from leaders in other Georgia cities where downtown redevelopment has been successful.

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard invited those leaders to town for a forum to help revitalize downtown Albany.

The forum held by Mayor's Coalition for Economic Development included panelists from Columbus and Macon. Everyone agrees for Albany to repeat their success we need a vision, confidence and support from the community.

Whitewater rafting on the Chattahoochee River helped transform downtown Columbus. Leaders there say downtown Albany has great potential.

"Your downtown is the heart and soul of this community," said Richard Bishop, Uptown Columbus President.

Some Albany residents have ideas on how to get that heart pumping again.

"I think something really big is making sure that families feel welcomed and knowing about things that are here already like the library that just reopened," said Katy Hughes, Resident.

"I just feel like we're not taking advantage of our resources with a lot our athletes that have went on to do big things and not just athletes we have a lot of entertainers," said Anthony Seay, Resident.

At Tuesday's forum, officials from Columbus and Macon spoke on how they revitalized their downtowns.

"We spent almost three quarters of a billion dollars invested in the downtown area to get the infrastructure in place so that you can invite the community to a great venue," said Bishop.

Bishop says downtown Columbus is busier than ever with zip lining, rafting and a performing arts center. He says downtown Albany needs activities to make people want to visit and live there.

"They need to create some activities down here, even without business yet or restaurants," said Bishop.

Interim Downtown Manager, Sharlene Cannon, says downtown Albany needs community investment.

"Community investment means investing your heart and soul in this community," said Cannon.

Of course it also takes money. She says the city is finalizing improvements to vacant buildings on Front Street and is close to finalizing leases with new businesses.

Cannon says Shandon Development, The North Carolina company overseeing downtown redevelopment,will unveil detailed plans for downtown in a few weeks.

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