Groundbreaking held for new Albany transportation center
Federal funding to go towards refurbishing Ritz Cultural Center
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A new transportation center is making its way to the Good Life City.
A groundbreaking was held Monday for the new center that will be replacing the old one on Oglethorpe Boulevard.
Coordinators said it took 23 years to get up to this point. They said they can’t wait to see what the new center does for the community.
Transportation Director David Hamilton said getting up to the groundbreaking, there were many different obstacles that made the process longer.
‘’There were funding issues, there were archeological issues and other environmental issues that we were federally required to take care of,” said Hamilton.
The new center cost $11.5 million. Eighty percent of those costs were federally funded.
Rep. Sanford Bishop said this project is an example of policy turning into reality. Adding this project will not only improve life for Albany residents but help revitalize the Harlem district.
“The new and improved center will host multiple transportation options for public transit, including Greyhound, ... and ADA accessible access points,” said Bishop.
The center will also have charging stations, wireless internet access, community meeting rooms and computer access.
Bishop said the center was designed to pay tribute to the old terminal’s importance to the Albany Civil Rights movement.
“A plaza dedicated to Ola Mae Quarterman. As many of you know, changed the course of history by refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus, like Rosa Parks, who did it a few years later. She was an inspiration, a real ‘shero,’” said Bishop.
They expect the center to serve more than 650,000 passengers per year.
“We were excited to at least give patrons of Albany transit a voice in the process, and this is where they spoke. This is where they want it to be, and this is where we are,” said Hamilton.
He said it will take about 14 months to finish construction.
Refurbishing the Ritz Cultural Center
Bishop also spoke about $2 million in federal funding that will go into helping refurbish Ritz Cultural Center. That’s next to Albany’s new transportation center on Oglethorpe Boulevard.
City leaders have been working to revitalize the Harlem district.
Albany Mayor Bo Dorough said the refurbishing will help re-tell its story.
“We’re looking for partners to help us in developing the section of our city,” said Dorough.
Bishop said the Ritz Cultural Center is part of the National Register of Historic Places.
“Make it home once again for the enjoyment of cultural activities and to give our young people a place to explore the arts,” said Bishop.
The congressman said the collaboration between local, state, and federal governments allows more positive changes in communities.
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