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Officials work to revive 'Old Northside'

This house at 603 North Jackson Street will be one of many featured this Christmas season to highlight the Old Northside neighborhood.

This house at 603 North Jackson Street will be one of many featured this Christmas season to highlight the Old Northside neighborhood.

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The area of Old Northside, north of downtown Albany, is set to undergo renovations in order to showcase its history as one of Albany’s oldest neighborhoods. It spans the area from Monroe Street to Washington Street and Roosevelt Avenue to Society Avenue.

ALBANY, Ga. -- City officials, working in collaboration with the Historic Preservation Commission, have undertaken a new effort to showcase one of Albany's oldest neighborhoods in an attempt to make what was once a posh residential district trendy once again.

Historic Old Northside is an area of the city just north of what some residents would consider the downtown business or riverfront district that was once home to some of the city's prominent citizens and founders.

Today, however, much of the district serves as a mixed-use neighborhood filled with law and business offices and a smattering of single-family and multifamily residences.

Downtown Manager Aaron Blair said he'd like to see the neighborhood become popular again, an inner-city district that could provide a much-needed residential component to downtown.

"We're working with the Historic Preservation Commission to promote the neighborhood's more historic attributes," Blair said. "Everyone knows about Rawson Circle and Palmyra Heights, but nobody really knows about Old Northside."

A holiday tour of homes that will showcase some of the more grand properties within the region that spans from Monroe Street to Washington Street, and Roosevelt Avenue to Society Avenue is planned for December.

The tour, which is scheduled Dec. 8 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. starting at the Thronateeska Heritage Museum, will include stops at the building currently used by Clenny, Powell and Rentz; the original St. Teresa's Catholic Church; the Taylor Graham House on South Jackson Street; the Hugh Morris Law Firm, and the Sandy Bottom area.

"It's a historic tour to get people into the neighborhood and see some of the more impressive homes," Blair said.

Funding from the city's Tax Allocation District, which is managed by the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority, will also be used to fund signage improvements in the Northside area as well as street light improvements from Residence Avenue to Tift Avenue.

Crosswalks will also be improved in the area, Blair said.

And while Blair acknowledges that the area in question also includes a number of dilapidated and unkempt houses, he hopes drawing attention to the district will help encourage owners to either take pride in their property and fix it up or sell to someone who can see the potential.

"I'll be honest, there are parts of this area that aren't real fun to look at, but every city has that," Blair said. "It's part of the redevelopment process. Our goal is to get people interested in what this neighborhood is and what it can be."

For more information about the tour of homes, call the city of Albany at (229) 438-3933 or 438-3999.

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