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Shirley Sherrod

WASHINGTON – Congressman Sanford Bishop Jr. has successfully directed $7.2 million to Albany-area projects in this year’s Fiscal Year 2022 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

The city of Albany will get $5.2 million to expand Driskell Park’s facilities as well as revitalize the Ritz Cultural Center, a historic landmark. The Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education will receive $2 million to build facilities for the Community Food Hub, a center that will support families, address food insecurity and support local farmers.

The bill was approved on Friday by the House Appropriations Committee and now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

“Ensuring this bill included robust funding for the development of cherished community spaces in Albany was a top priority of mine,” Bishop said in a news release. “The Driskell Park and Ritz Cultural Center projects will enhance our neighborhoods, create healthy outdoor spaces, and bring together residents as well as visitors to enjoy the cultural heritage of Albany.”

“The citizens of Albany are extremely grateful for the community project funding secured by Rep. Bishop,” Albany Mayor Bo Dorough said. “The funds will be utilized for Driskell, formerly Carver, Park to create a community center, meeting spaces, an exercise track, and other enhancements to benefit Albany residents. Additional funding for the Ritz Cultural Center, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will allow for the renovation and rehabilitation of an iconic part of the ‘Little Harlem’ district of downtown Albany. In addition, the city of Albany plans to use local funding to match these important federal dollars provided through the strong leadership of Congressman Bishop.”

Speaking about the Community Food Hub project, Bishop noted, “This project will have a broad impact on Albany and its surrounding communities. It supports families, promotes a healthy food environment, and helps us prevent food insecurity. It will be a new market for small farmers and an economic boost to the area.”

“This investment represents hope,” Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education Executive Director Shirley Sherrod said. “For thousands of residents in southwest Georgia, this project will bring us closer to a solution for chronic food insecurity. It is an opportunity for economic development and community revitalization. For farmers of color, this project increases market opportunities and farm stability. And for those of us in Albany and southwest Georgia, hope could not have come at a better time. Albany experienced disproportionate rates of COVID-19 deaths in 2020.”

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