ViewPoint: Albany needs economic growth

It's not easy to part ways with a long-time employee, but recently the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Commission asked for and accepted the resignation of Tim Martin.

It was never a good idea to have one person in charge of both of those groups.  Hopefully now, the Chamber will now hire a strong leader to focus on existing businesses and community issues.

And hopefully, the EDC will find someone with a proven record of attracting new industries.

Albany's recent record on that front is dismal.  Forget attracting NEW industries, we've had trouble keeping the ones we have.  Merck and Bobs Candies come to mind.

Finding new manufacturing jobs isn't easy, but it can be done.  Valdosta is proof of that.  Home Depot just started building a distribution center in Lowndes County that will create 600 jobs.  The county added 750 manufacturing jobs last year and expects to far surpass that number this year.

Yes, Valdosta has advantages that Albany doesn't.  It's on Interstate-75.  The county is growing fast.  But it also has an Industrial Authority that's separate from the Chamber of Commerce.

We hope that by separating the EDC and the Chamber in Albany and by bringing in new leaders with fresh ideas, the Albany area will also enjoy more success is creating new jobs.