Smaller SPLOST VI projects need funds

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- As time winds down before voters will ultimately decide whether to support renewal of a one-percent sales tax, its time to play catch-up for some of the projects that haven't received a lot of attention but are still on the ballot.


To start, Chehaw Park is slated to get $1.7 million to link the park onto the city's sewer system and to develop the waterfront portions of the park to allow for extended stay capabilities.

While it may not garner headlines, the sewer expansion is a big deal for the park because Chehaw officials say that it lays the groundwork for expansion and growth of the park, which will ultimately help it become self-sufficient through increased revenue.

The park currently uses a dozen septic tank systems, which will be eliminated once they can hook into the sewer system.

The waterfront developments will include construction of a concession stand, restrooms, canoe/paddle boat rental building and an RV camping area.

What officials tout as a large-scale group rental facility with a garden area will be constructed to compliment the Creekside Center.

Civic Center:

The Civic Center will pick up $350,000 worth of improvements to both exterior and interior lighting systems.

According to the city, $150,000 has been earmarked to improve lighting throughout the parking lots both on the Oglethorpe side of the facility and along the periphery.

Another $200,000 will go to enhance and replace lighting within the civic center, namely an outdated dimmer and light system.

Sanitary & Storm Drainage

The city has allocated $2.5 million to upgrade and improve Pump Station 50 which is located at Mobile and Wingate Avenue.

City Engineer Bruce Maples said that the pump station was originally identified for upgrades following the 1994 flood, but because of a lack of funding, the station remains in its current condition. This particular pump station serves a 4,000 acre drainage basin which extends to areas North of Oglethorpe Boulevard and east to the former Cooper Tire location.

Also, $1 million has been allocated to upgrade capacity or extend city sewer services to places that aren't currently served.

An additional $5 million has been set aside to repair or slip-line deteriorating clay pipes. The industry standard to repair the pipes, according to government officials is $1 million per mile.

Roadway improvements

Phase III and IV of Nottingham Way Improvements will combine funding from SPLOST V and SPLOST VI to widen Nottingham from Westover to Stuart Avenue and onto Whispering Pines and possibly 12th Avenue if funding is available. City officials say that the Nottingham improvements will help ease traffic congestion and traffic flow around that intersection.

On Old Dawson Road, $650,000 has been allocated to widen and incorporate turn signals at its intersection with North Doublegate Drive. According to city documents, the improvements will start 500 feet east and west of the intersection and 400 feet north and south the intersection and will include a new traffic signal.

An analysis of all major intersections within the city will be conducted to synchronize the systems to shorten commute times and replace items with more energy-efficient LED lighting systems will be conducted for a cost of roughly $250,000.

Another $1 million will go to sidewalk repair and replacement and $1.6 million for general street reconstruction and storm water improvements.

One of the more controversial aspects of the SPLOST has been a request from Albany State University for a pedestrian bridge over Radium Springs Road.

The $1.2 million bridge is one of two pedestrian bridges to be built for in SPLOST VI. The second bridge is to be built across Slappey for Albany Technical College for $830,000. Darton has asked for an extension of Meadowlark Road for $1.2 million.

Historical and Recreational items

SPLOST VI includes funding -- $250,000 -- for the renovation of the Ritz Cultural Center to make it usable for the public.

The initiative includes $26,000 for signs designating the city's historical district, $150,000 for renovation of the Ken Gardens recreational facility which include revamping the park for increased use; $2.6 million for for recreation facility improvements to develop a central sports complex. These will be used in conjunction with existing SPLOST funds from SPLOST III and SPLOST V to develop a multi-sport facility.

A multi-use building will also be built at Robert Cross Park for $550,000 and a pool complex will be built in East Albany for $1 million.

The Albany-Area Chamber of Commerce will get $85,000 to repair and replace windows in their downtown headquarters that were initially built into the structure in 1917 along with additional building improvements.

On the county end, $1.1 million has been set aside to replace the natural grass field at Hugh Mills Stadium with artificial turf, replace the scoreboards and the east side stands will be improved and replaced as needed.

The Flint RiverQuarium will receive $505,000 to continue development an outdoor exhibit area, add touchscreens in the Flint River Gallery and build a small outdoor pavillion to teach environmental lessons.