Microbrewery to replace art park

Microbrewery to replace art park
Tommy Gregors, with the Flint RiverQuarium
Tommy Gregors, with the Flint RiverQuarium
Albany resident Marvin Trice
Albany resident Marvin Trice


Albany's downtown Art Park has served as an outlet for artists since it opened a little more than three years ago, but it's being shut down to make way for a new microbrewery.

But city officials tell us they're committed to finding a new spot for it. It's been closed for months, and now city officials tell us the art park is going away permanently, at least in this spot on Pine Ave.

The idea to put in the art park in the Old NAPA building came together in 2011 with former downtown manager Aaron Blair. It's served as a place for artists to come and spray artwork, and draw people downtown area who otherwise might not come.

"As it progressed along, there were actually some art competitions there, for the mural art that was done in there, and even people coming to see it. It got featured in magazines around the country, and news stories. I do think it brought some notoriety to downtown," says Executive Director of the Flint RiverQuarium Tommy Gregors.

And while it
s had ups and downs, Gregors says it helped revitalize downtown. He says he would like to see it reopen in another location.

"We have a lot of opportunities. Certainly we have to find the right spot for it. Other communities have done this and it brings some younger people to downtown. One of the things we need to have an active and vibrant downtown is to have the younger generation down here, and be involved in it, and have things to do," says Gregors.

And residents say they enjoy seeing changes being made to the downtown area. "I've seen a lot of things that have been improving downtown. And when I was raised here as five-years-old, I remember we used to do a lot of shopping down here, the Belk's store was down here,
says Albany resident Marvin Trice.

And they hope the art park will have a future in downtown. "I think that was a great thing that they did, give them something to do instead of spray painting these trains or other buildings," says Trice.

But what that future is remains unknown. 
City Manager Sharon Subadan did tell us that they are committed to working with the group that oversees it, and moving it to another spot.

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