ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Can " good "come out of the pain suffered in the devastation of the two January storms on Albany and Dougherty County?
Now that much of the initial cleanup phase is winding down, Albany and Dougherty County leaders are hoping to bring in state and federal funding to kick start economic growth.
The January storms hurt Albany and Dougherty County, but now leaders say it provides an opportunity to find good in the recovery.
"So yes, Albany is going to be greater and better as a result of this," said Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.
Albany has attracted state and federal attention to long standing community problems. Government leaders now have one opportunity to use support to push Albany forward.
"Strategically apply any funds that we receive toward real development. Toward things that are meaningful. Things that improve property values. Things that bring in new business, new industry," said Dougherty County Commission Chair Chris Cohilas.
Mayor Hubbard had State Department officials in her office this week, discussing Housing and Urban Development funds to help improve housing issues.
"We know that we would like to see better housing come out of this. We would like to see as a result of this people be able to own or rent to own some, a place to live," said Mayor Hubbard.
Albany is known for a much higher than average number of renters as compared to home ownership, and substandard quality homes are a major concern.
Some of Albany's largest employers, the Marine Base, Procter and Gamble, sustained some of the worst damage. Economic Development Leaders one of their first jobs make sure that those large industries are supported.
"With the ability to not only rebuild but to further secure their investment. And also to build bigger and better to expand," said Cohilas.
Those large industries create dozens of smaller businesses in support, employing hundreds. So it's vital long term investment from any storm relief funding that can be obtained improve the community and attract more businesses and industries to South Georgia.
"The storm, the tornadoes were an opportunity for us to really understand how we really are one Albany," Mayor Hubbard.
An opportunity to have a brighter day after the tragedy of the storms.
The Mayor, County Commission Chairman, and Economic Development Leaders assured us they continue to push for promised federal and state support in the long recovery process ahead, and long term investment planning is their goal.