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ADICA: Residences needed downtown

Photo by Ricki Barker

Photo by Ricki Barker

ALBANY -- As board members of the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority met with a state downtown development official Tuesday night, common themes of residential development and increased community activities surfaced as key issues to revitalizing downtown.

Facilitated by Georgia Department of Community Affairs representative Martha Reimann, the hour-long meeting Tuesday centered on ideas and concerns board members had for the future of downtown Albany and then how best to make those ideas a reality.

The meeting is part of a larger, two-day charrette that will continue today with meetings with developers and stakeholders, who will also give their input into what should happen to make downtown Albany viable.

Tuesday night, board members discussed myriad of ideas and visions for downtown, but throughout the discussion the topic of residential property -- in terms of site-built homes, existing historical structures and loft apartments -- became a constant theme.

Additionally, Reimann offered tips and suggestions to entice business owners, developers and the public downtown.

Those tips included utilizing DCA loan programs and the low-interest rates that are attached as incentives to rehabilitating historic buildings that otherwise would be extremely costly to bring up to code or renovate. She also discussed possible upcoming legislation, sponsoring community and entertainment activities downtown, and taking small steps that show progress while rebuilding ADICA's tarnished reputation.

The charrette or development meetings are open to the public and ADICA officials are encouraging as much public input as possible. The first will be 9 a.m.-11 a.m. today, with a second one today at 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Both will be at the Albany Law Enforcement Center's Community Room at the intersection of Washington Street and Oglethorpe Boulevard.