Albany business owners concerned about recent downtown projects

Albany business owners concerned about recent downtown development

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Some downtown Albany business owners are speaking out against projects the city has in place to help bring more business to downtown.

The Streetscape Improvement Project was approved by voters to enhance downtown Albany.

One business owner on Washington Street said he feels businesses on Pine Avenue receive special treatment.

“It’s going to be hard if they don’t take care of the existing businesses downtown,” said Fit Nation Owner Quincy Davis.

Quincey Davis (Source: WALB)
Quincey Davis (Source: WALB)

Davis said in his five years in downtown Albany, advertising has been a challenge.

“It’s hard for people to come by and see my building or see any signage because you don’t look at the top of a building when you pass by,” explained Davis.

Davis applied for a facade grant to help. Instead, he said it created obstacles.

“I can’t have my logo plaster over my window because of the regulation downtown,” said Davis.

On Washington Street, Davis said untreated pine trees and grass growing in the sidewalks show the street’s not kept up.

“But you can go around the corner and that part doesn’t look like any part of downtown,” Davis said.

On Pine Avenue, they’ve got problems of their own.

“I know like on a daily basis, I see at least two people either trip coming out of my store,” said Morgan Layfield about her boutique Downtown Dawsyn that sits slanted.

Downtown Dawsyn boutique (Source: WALB)
Downtown Dawsyn boutique (Source: WALB)

“I would personally love to see the concrete just get evened out,” said Layfield.

The city has approved hand railings along Pine but Layfield said she’s thankful those will stop before her store.

“I have mannequins in my windows, so that would possibly block people from the street being able to see inside my store,” said Layfield.

Morgan Layfield (Source: WALB)
Morgan Layfield (Source: WALB)

Layfield said she too is limited with what she can do for her business.

“We would love to have more stuff kind of outside but with the unevenness we can’t have pots out here to make it a little more inviting,” Layfield explained.

Downtown Manager LeQurica Gaskins said the railing project will help with pedestrian safety and will be paid for with SPLOST funds.

For the facade grant, Gaskins said they want to work with businesses to make sure store fronts are in the best of conditions.

“We also want to allow the merchants and business owners an opportunity to be able to sit at the table and have a conversation that they can be a participatory, active part of that conversation,” said Gaskins.

The facade grant is based on eligibility.

You can find out about those grants here.

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