ALBANY, Ga. — With the Albany City Commission set to accept return of the deed for the Albany Civic Center from the Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority later this month and the building itself now paid off, what does the future hold for the largest indoor gathering place in Southwest Georgia.
In February, the city made the last payment on a lengthy series of bonds that had been used to build and improve the civic center.
As per the bond agreement, ADICA, which was the executor of the bonds, held the deed until the debt was paid off. Now that it has, that deed will transfer to the city.
So what does the city do now with a nearly 40-year-old medium-sized venue that can seat close to 10,000 people?
For now, status quo seems to be the answer.
“I’m not aware of any definitive plans to do anything with the building,” Blair said. “There are definitely options that you have after a property is paid off, but in just about all of the master plans and studies, it’s there. Just like it is currently.”
But, like any aging building, the civic center requires maintenance to stay functional. And the older it gets, the more those maintenance bills could stack up for area taxpayers.
In the last sales tax referendum, voters allotted funds to repair the stairs for the exterior of the civic center.
City officials have also expressed concern about the rising utility costs.
Some city officials have heard rumblings about a transformative project that could involve the addition of conference center space or a new hotel.
Some online comments at albanyherald.com, show support for either demolishing it and building something bigger and better or expanding the existing facility with the intent to attract new shows and events.
Blair said that, if the civic center were to get a new start in the future, that some kind of multi-purpose center would likely be the city’s best option.
“You need something that is versatile,” Blair said. “The more events, concerts, promoters and organizers you can cater to, the more likely we are to keep the building in use.”