Survey requested on multimodal site

ALBANY, Ga. -- Members of a Native American tribe whose ancestors were indigenous to the Albany area are asking the city and the Georgia Department of Transportation for a special survey to ensure that the planned site for a controversial multimodal transit terminal doesn't desecrate cultural remnants of previous Native American villages.

In town Monday to meet with city and GDOT officials as well as the director of the Thronateeska Heritage Museum, Johnnie Jacobs and Emman Spain toured the proposed site and took a look at Native American artifacts discovered nearby.

Both Spain and Jacobs are affiliated with the Muscogee Creek Nation and are asking government officials to perform a special type of survey that would help to ensure that there are no items of significant cultural significance, Albany-Dougherty County Planning Director Howard Brown said.

"They've asked the DOT that a Geotechnical analysis of the location be done on the site," Brown said. "The idea is that it would help determine whether there were things such as a Native American burial ground."

The survey would be an added component of the state historic preservation agency's requirement on the site and would fit with the environmental assessment currently under way.

The site selection -- currently the large parking lot behind the Dougherty County Courthouse -- has come under criticism by detractors as not being business friendly to local business owners and a possible hindrance to those who have business at the courthouse because of its proximity.

The criticism grew when the federal government derailed the process after reviewing the original environmental assessment and finding that it was incomplete.

The proposed site is relatively close to the river in an area that many believe was a well-traveled path by indigenous peoples that connected a Native American village that was located somewhere near what is today the Georgia Power Reservoir and a smaller village farther downriver in southern Dougherty County.