ALBANY, Ga. — The Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority Board voted Wednesday evening not to extend funding for the current cycle of its facade grant program, denying two new downtown businesses grants that would have allowed them to make improvements on their storefronts.
ADICA President Aaron Blair, who also serves as the city’s downtown manager, said the two businesses — the already open Shondra’s Salon and the coming-soon Vintage Jazz Lounge — should move to the top of the list during the development authority’s next grant cycle, which would start in August if ADICA decides to continue the program.
“I’m not asking you to extend the amount we approve in each cycle ($50,000), but we could,” Blair told the board. “By extending the amount $10,000, we could include these two businesses.”
Board member B.J. Fletcher suggested that the two applications be considered during the next cycle.
“This is my personal opinion, but I’d like to see them prove themselves first,” Fletcher said.
Facade grants were approved for unoccupied storefronts at 129, 131 and 133 Front Street for aesthetic purposes, and for Our Daily Bread at 106 N. Washington St., Muse at 212 W. Broad Ave. and Riverfront Bar-B-Q at 105 West Broad.
The ADICA board approved additional funding for the ongoing Pine Avenue Streetscape program for unforseen issues that arose during work on the project. An additional $2,404.63 was OK’d for work done by the city’s Water, Gas & Light Commission to repair a water line that was broken during construction by contractor Zane Grace. But Blair pointed out that the line had not been marked by WG&L, leading to a discussion of responsibility for the water line repair.
New board member Tommy Gregors, the director of the Thronateeska Heritage Museum, suggested that the board approve funding for the repair but get a clarification from City Manager James Taylor on the bill. Board member David Prisant suggested that Blair also get clarification on responsibility for payment of all services provided by city departments.
The board also approved $1,200 to install a manhole and $3,500 to install drainage at the ADICA-owned Art Park that would tie into the Pine Avenue drain lines currently being installed.
“I could get additional bids if you prefer, but I thought it made sense to get a price from the contractor to do the job now as opposed to having to come back later,” Blair said.
The board also approved $157,704 in funding from its downtown improvement bonds, which currently have a value of slightly more than $2 million, for lighting in the Historic Old Northside neighborhood. The Albany City Commission tentatively approved $300,000 in Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax II funding to install lighting from Washington to Jefferson streets along Residence and Tift avenues in the neighborhood.
The funding approved by the ADICA board would extend the lighting along Jefferson and Roosevelt streets to Society Avenue.
“By extending the lighting along Jefferson, we’ll make that project more visible to the public,” Blair said.
City Attorney Nathan Davis questioned the funding.
“Are the folks on the fifth floor aware of these six-figure amounts you’re approving?” he asked. Blair assured him the city manager and Finance offices had been informed of the proposal.
A financial update showed that the ADICA-sponsored FlintFest had come in at a cost of $14,000 more than the funding it generated. Blair noted after the meeting that the city did not sponsor the second FlintFest, as it had the first, and that funding from the first event more than covered the loss from the second.
Also at the busy meeting, new members Gregors and Charles Ochie — recently appointed to the board by the City Commission — helped approve Thelma Adams as the authority’s new secretary. LaNicia Hart, who chaired her first meeting Wednesday, was selected as chairwoman and Prisant as vice chairman at the board’s January meeting.