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$2.63 million repair list includes some of Dougherty County's worst roadways
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ALBANY — With the continued infusion of a dedicated tax for transportation projects, Dougherty County drivers will be able to drive on vastly improved roads.

The latest group of projects announced by the county will include resurfacing a total of 20 miles along 13 county-maintained roadways.

On Monday, the Dougherty County Commission approved a $2.63 million bid from Reeves Construction Co. of Albany to complete the project.

Funding will come from the annual local maintenance and improvement grant (LMIG) from the Georgia Department of Transportation in the amount of $435,823 and from local funds raised through the current countywide special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) and transportation special-purpose local-option sales taxes (T-SPLOST).

Dougherty County voters narrowly approved the T-SPLOST in March 2019, but the boost in road spending should be apparent as the asphalt hits the road.

The tax is expected to bring in $2 million over five years for resurfacing projects.

The rule of thumb is that roadways should be resurfaced every 15 years, a goal the county was not meeting prior to passage of the transportation sales tax.

“We were slowly falling behind on our resurfacing, so the T-SPLOST is really going to help,” Jeremy Brown, engineering manager for the Dougherty County Public Works Department, said.

With about 290 miles of county-maintained paved roadways, resurfacing 20 miles each year would put the department on track to meeting its goal.

Prior to passage of the 1% transportation tax, the county was earmarking about $300,000 each year toward resurfacing work.

The cost of resurfacing is about $100,000 or more per mile, Brown said.

The funds also will allow the county to tackle some of the roads that are in the worst shape. The bid awarded this week includes four roads that are in such poor condition that they will be handled through reclamation.

“Those roads are in such poor condition we have to rebuild them,” Brown said. “The roads that are having to have the reclamation done on them are some (with) heavy farm-equipment traffic, a lot of heavy traffic.”

Roads do not always reach that condition due to neglect, he said.

“Sometimes there are issues you don’t know about that tore them up, just something going on underneath the road you didn’t know about,” the engineer manager said.

The roads on the reclamation list include two miles of roadway in addition to the 20 miles being handled through the traditional resurfacing process.

The resurfacing projects approved include portions of Broach Avenue, Gaissert Road, Mud Creek Road, Nelms Road, Old Pretoria Road, Vanderbilt Drive, Williamsburg Road, Old Dawson Road, Morgan Street, Ironwood Court and Birchwood Drive.

Full-depth reclamation projects are set for Forrester Road, Birchwood Drive, Thomas Road and Morgan Court.

Deana Carter to perform at Albany Municipal Auditorium
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ALBANY — Singer, songwriter and producer Deana Carter will give a live acoustic performance at the Albany Municipal Auditorium on May 14. Tickets for this event start at $42.50 and are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com.

The ’90s country music artist will be featured in an intimate acoustic setting where her powerful voice and guitar take the spotlight. This will be an up-close-and-personal event punctuated by personal stories and anecdotes about her life and musical influences, while performing some of her biggest hits, including “Strawberry Wine,” “We Danced Anyway,” and “Did I Shave My Legs for This?”

Her superstar success continues to be evident as the chart-topper “You & Tequila,” cowritten with Matraca Berg and recorded by Kenny Chesney, was nominated as CMA’s “Song of the Year,” as well as two Grammy nods, notably the coveted “Song of the Year” and also received a nomination as ACM’s “Song of the Year.”

Sparta native Faren Rachels will be the opening support act. In November of 2017 Rachels released the self-titled EP, “Faren Rachels” & joined Luke Combs on his fall tour. During this time, Rolling Stone named her one of 2018’s new country “artists to watch.”

This will be a safe, socially distanced event with limited capacity presented by concert promotion company Six String Southern Productions.

For more information about upcoming events at the Flint River Entertainment Complex, visit www.flintriverentertainmentcomplex.com.

Deana Carter didn’t take a seemingly easy route to stardom, but instead chose to defy the conventional expectations of the typical Nashville artist blueprint and make her own mark. And she did, undeniably taking the industry and fans by storm with her wildly successful multiplatinum international debut album “Did I Shave My Legs For This?” more than a decade ago. Anchored by the dreamy super hit “Strawberry Wine,” Carter showcased her own blend of country and retro-rock sprinkled with the folksy singer/songwriter qualities that have garnered Carter well-deserved respect and wild acclaim.

Ball is in Albany's court as county proposes Tift Park location for $1.3 million tennis center
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ALBANY — After more than 20 years, the wait for area residents wanting to get out and swing their rackets on tennis and pickleball courts may be measurable now in months.

Plans for a new tennis center have coalesced around Tift Park for a development of tennis courts and a pro shop.

The Dougherty County Commission is looking to purchase land from the city of Albany and Boys & Girls Club of Albany at the site on North Jefferson Street.

The county has $1.3 million to invest in the project. It plans to build 12 tennis courts that will be available for residents and that also are available for tournaments.

The county’s proposal is for the city to use the area where its tennis courts already are located for pickleball, a sport that has taken off among younger players and combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis.

“We felt that putting that together would really be a dynamite way of bringing everything together in one area,” Dougherty County Commissioner Clinton Johnson, who heads that board’s Recreation Committee, said. “It’s a central location, for one. Number two, it’s close to downtown, still close to your restaurants and hotels. It gives people something to do.”

The proposal is contingent upon the city’s involvement in the pickleball portion of the plan, he said. The county has enlisted the United States Tennis Association and a consultant in planning the tennis center.

County funding is available through a prior special-purpose local-option sales tax initiative approved by voters.

Over the years, a number of other sites have been considered, and the issue of managing the complex also has been a sticking point. Under the county’s latest proposal, it would be responsible for managing the center’s pro shop and maintaining facilities.

“There are a lot of things going on downtown,” Johnson said. “Our hope is to keep building on that.”

The Recreation Committee plans to present its proposal to the full commission later this month. Once plans are approved, it is estimated, the construction could be completed within 18 months.

The Albany City Commission discussed the county’s proposal on Tuesday and also could make a decision soon. City Commissioner Chad Warbington said he agreed the location is a good one for the facility.

“We’re really excited about the tennis center,” he said. “Tift Park is a great park for that.”

The pickleball court area also could serve as a location to host junior tournaments, which use a smaller playing surface.

While the city has not budgeted for the construction of pickleball courts, Warbington said it would be a good investment.

“Pickleball is today’s world,” he said. “It’s growing exponentially in popularity. We really have to focus on the pickleball so we can keep up with the times.”

And with the county willing to partner on the project the timing is right, he said.

“We’ve got to take the opportunity to do that,” Warbington said. “When they agreed on Tift Park, we were listening. I think it’s going to enhance Tift Park and increase the number of people going to the park. It’s really going to be a great asset there.”