September 13, 2007
Later this month, Albany City Commissioners are expected to give final approval to a downtown Riverfront District. It's a move that's long overdue, and one we applaud. The zoning changes will lead to aesthetic improvements and encourage new development.
However, one big problem is that the current wording includes a noise ordiance, requiring all "loud music" to end at 10:00 pm. This will kill any downtown bar or restaurant development. It seems we still need an entertainment district, within the Riverfront district.
Let's get this adressed right away, this was an unwelcom surprise.
City leaders need to move forward with the changes quickly and promptly hire a new downtown manager to promote the area to private developers.
We can all play a part by supporting downtown businesses and attending events like: "Fridays on the Flint" or the "Saturday Farmers Market."
It's also time for major downtown property owners to change their attitude.
Instead of just waiting for a windfall pay-day, they need to follow through with development projects and show more willingness to work with entrepreneurs interested in locating businesses downtown.
Cities need vibrant downtowns to grow. The Riverfront District is one step in the right direction for Albany. We all need to do what we can to make sure it's the first of many positive steps to come.