ViewPoint: Let's get serious about downtown

February 7, 2008

A staggering 30 percent of property in downtown Albany is vacant, dilapidated, and rundown. What a huge roadblock to downtown redevelopment plans.

It's encouraging to hear our new downtown manager, Don Buie, get tough on the owners of these blighted properties.

"You cannot have a blighted property where you and I can look straight up into the sky and say that we are serious about Downtown redevelopment," he says.

After just three months on the job, Buie is taking steps to clean up downtown. He's partnering with code enforcement to track down the property owners and give them an ultimatum.

"We will move and move very quickly in locating these property owners and forcing them to make a choice. Either you come up with a development plan or we're going to court.  It's as simple as that."

And he's serious about empowering code enforcement officers. He's asking the city commission to put more teeth in the code ordinance, and to provide two additional code enforcement officers to focus on downtown.

What a relief to see that something's finally being done about the downtown eyesores.

We support Mr. Buie in his efforts and we call on city commissioners, code enforcement officers and property owners to help wipe out rundown properties.