ALBANY — Four Albany nonprofits were approved by the Albany City Commission Tuesday to receive some $75,000 total in HUD-sponsored Public Service Community Development Block Grants
Liberty House, Dougherty County Family Literacy, Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany and Quest for Change were the four agencies among six applicants deemed to have sufficiently completed the application process. The commission accepted the recommendation of Community and Economic Development staff during the board’s Tuesday-morning meeting.
Commissioners also got an update from Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Rachelle Beasley on the agency’s transition from its affiliation with the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce to its development as an independent agency. Beasley told commissioners the city had gotten a significant return on investment with CVB.
“For your $725,000 investment (via hotel-motel taxes), the city received $244 million in” tourism-related funding, Beasley said. The CVB director said the transition to independence had been a “seamless” one.
Beasley also noted during her presentation that hotels and motels in the city had increased occupancy rates by 17.6% over the past year, to 75%. She said goals for the coming year include new signage and identifying kiosks, an updated marketing strategy — including a “Three Amazing Adventures in One Awesome Albany” for the Thronateeska Heritage Center, Flint RiverQuarium and Chehaw Park, all three now managed by Tommy Gregors — and a tourism research study.
The commission also approved the use of $1,287,852.78 in SPLOST VII funds for upgrades of portable and mobile radios and control stations. Albany Police Chief Michael Persley and Albany Fire Chief Cedric Scott endorsed the upgrades.
“Motorola stopped making the model radios we use now in 2018,” Persley said. “Some of the ones we still have in service are 15 years old. We need to move forward with this upgrade.”
As part of the new contract with Motorola, the city received 30 body camera units that will be worn by police officers.
The City Commission also approved:
♦ A $382,800 contract with Labor Finders of Albany for temporary labor;
♦ An easement agreement with the Thronateeska Heritage Center as part of the Downtown Connector portion of the Flint River Trail System;
♦ Re-adopted the five principles that govern the conduct of city officials to remain a Georgia Municipal Association Certified City of Ethics.