Downtown Manager Aaron Blair gave a state of downtown speech Thursday night to update the public on the highs and lows in the past two years of Downtown Albany.According to Blair, the highs included increased private sector investment totaling over $3 million funded compared to the $600,000 of public investments made by the city.Blair says another success was the fact that 24 new street-level businesses opened in the past two years, while only four have closed. These numbers only include empty buildings without leases.Despite the successes, Blair says areas of need is include increasing the creation of residential units and making the area more pedestrian and neighborhood friendly.
Blair then touched on where he wants to go in the next three years, which he wants to continue increasing private to public investment ratio, residential living spaces, making downtown more walk able, continue the practice of adding new facades.ADICA board members showed up to support their fellow board member during his speech.Newly elected ADICA Vice Chair David Prisant says that Blair receives full support of the board for giving this presentation because he believes it will truly show the success of downtown. Present added that there is a perception that most of the money pumped into downtown is public funds from the government but these numbers show a five to one ratio in private to public which is crucial for continuing to build downtown.Stay connected to MySouthWestGA.com as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!