ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Leaders in the Good Life City said their priority is enhancing the downtown area, and the decision to apply for a grant for streetscape improvements should help.
There’s mixed reaction to the over $3 million project that could enhance the downtown area with new sidewalks and medians, but ultimately, residents said they are ready to see change to the entire city.
There’s a seemingly steady flow of traffic on North Jackson Street in downtown Albany, but not so much on its walkways.
Marco Belloso said it’s because of their conditions.
“You walk around, and it doesn’t have an affect on you, but just like any other place, when you walk around in an area that’s clean, and you don’t see those type of cracks you do enjoy it more,” he said.
He walks in downtown frequently, and sees lots of room for improvement with the city’s sidewalks.
He said its time to make a change.
“We want to see business come back to downtown. We want to see more people walking and being a part of downtown,” said Kerrie Davis, transportation planner for the city of Albany.
In a public hearing Monday, residents heard plans of an over $3 million grant to enhance streetscapes in downtown, as well as adding medians.
Residents said that's pretty pricey for one area.
“I just think our biggest need in the community right now is sidewalks in general. Not just in downtown, but really all over the whole city,” said Chad Warbington.
We are told the project can be split up into phases and potentially help other areas, but leaders said downtown is the priority that’s going to set the tone for the rest of the city.
“We want a cohesive streetscape so that everybody knows they are in downtown,” said Davis.
Belloso said he thinks it will attract growth to all of Albany.
“The better it looks, the more you want to invest in the area, so I think long term it’s going to pay for itself,” said Belloso.
“But I think we still got a lot of needs across the city around a lot of our schools, a lot of our intersections for sidewalks,” said Warbington.
The city will submit the application for the grant this week, and expects to know if they get the grant in the fall.
If they do, we are told they will seek public input on the design of the project.