Editorial: Fight the Blight makes progress, still has room to grow

Editorial: Fight the Blight makes progress, still has room to grow

The City of Albany's Fight the Blight project is a joint effort with community partners, backed by tax dollars, to clean up sections around the city where structures stand abandoned, becoming dwelling places for crime and disease.

The project kicked off in July, and we wanted to take a look and see if it's making progress.

And, we found that it is, although there is still work to be done.

Fight the Blight's first target area runs roughly between Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Albany's downtown.

Three run-down homes on Tift Avenue are in process of being taken down, all on a block where there is a noticeable turn-around thanks to private investment in the lovely Graceway Recovery Residence and the charming and successful Bread House and Granary.

The city's code enforcement director, Paul Forgey, said that the Fight the Blight committee has been meeting monthly, and that they are hiring a new code enforcement officer dedicated to Fight the Blight projects.

He also said they have learned a lot in the first six months, and the community needs to take a long-range view with Fight the Blight.

"We are learning as we go. So, it is going to be more successful every time we choose a target area. It is not as successful as we'd like because we are learning what we are doing. We intend for this to go on from now until eternity," said Forgey.

Forgey said the next target area is in East Albany.

And he shared that The Albany Homes public housing neighborhood on Clark Avenue is a long-term Fight the Blight project.

We commend the effort made so far by Fight the Blight, and challenge the leaders to remain inspired and energized, because we think the work they are doing can make a real change in our community.

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