ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Albany city leaders are supporting a plan to restore the south side, including developing blighted properties, improving public transportation and even increasing police presence.
Many call South Albany a forgotten part of the city, void of any new business or economic growth and blighted properties filling the area. Thanks to a new five-year plan, city leaders said this won’t be the case much longer.
Twelve percent of Albanians live on the south side and said they’ve been asking for help for years.
“Our group did find it kind of concerning we had not had a plan for South Albany since the 90s,” said Albany resident Demetrius Young.
Shelena Hawkins, the director of community and economic development, said her team has created that plan. A five-year proposal to address the city’s weaknesses.
“Lack of disinvestment or commercial and redevelopment,” Hawkins said.
This part of the city lies in a flood plain which has left many properties sitting vacant for more than 20 years, among other issues.
“Some of the weaknesses are the food deserts,” Hawkins said.
Endorsed by Albany city commissioners, the new plan says it will engage community leaders to invest in the area by finding a use for the blighted properties. The city itself owns 300 vacant lots in South Albany now.
“But we have done smart development in the flood plains, so these lots are buildable. Those that are not can be used for green space,” said Hawkins.
The plan also describes creating a larger law enforcement presence in the area, improving public transportation, improving schools and enhancing recreational facilities there. Something residents have been waiting for years to see.
“We want to see community development get some funding,” said Young.
The plan will work to address the issues of food deserts, blighted properties and overall lack of economic development over the next five years.