ADICA budget slim for development

Downtown Albany is on the upswing, but ADICA is doing it on minimal funding. / From file

Downtown Albany is moving forward, however slow it might be. Store fronts are getting facelifts, and some businesses are seeing real results. But for the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority, it's been a tough climb.

"Are we where we want to be? Of course not. But we can't go much further, unless we have more buy-in from the community. Because really the community is going to be the ones to turn-around downtown," said ADICA Chairman, Aaron Blair.

Pushing for more involvement is one thing, but that becomes increasingly difficult on a budget that's anything but overflowing.

"For ADICA, our Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority, we usually get transferred around $50,000 dollars but that's only for operational costs," said Blair.

Blair says the budget gets placed into six categories: yearly financial audit, office supplies, training for board members, skate park maintenance and power bill, plus electricity for the downtown art-park. And although that might not leave a ton for development, Blair says they make it work.

"It'd be nice to have an enormous budget to do things like marketing but that's why we develop partnerships with the convention and visitor's bureau, they can help us market our attractions," said Blair.

That doesn't change the fact though that more money could certainly be used, but city officials say that won't be happening anytime soon.

"Right now, the way our budgets have been going and the kind of things that have been hitting the commission, I doubt, I mean right now I just don't see us being able to give any additional monies," said Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.

And Mayor Hubbard is aware of how difficult building a thriving downtown can be on such a slim spending cap.

"It's not enough to incentivize a person, or a developer to come in and invest the kind of money that we would be talking about," said Mayor Hubbard.

Despite the road ahead, Blair says he's confident that Downtown Albany can one day be a thriving spot for commerce, and adds that the wheels of change have already been set in motion.

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