Downtown Albany getting a face lift

ADICA discusses improvements to the downtown area. / Jessica Fairley

Within a year, Albany visitors can expect to see a new look in the downtown area because Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority (ADICA) board members are working on a plan to help boost the image in the downtown area.

For starters, they want to give existing businesses a grant to get a face lift.

"Our intention is to really step up the aesthetics in the downtown and for some of the businesses that historical character, we can remove some of the stuff that has killed the buildings," says Aaron Blair, Albany Downtown City Manager.

The grants will be worth a maximum of $10,000 for those who qualify.

Omar Salaam is a business owner who's been in the area since the 1980's and he says downtown could use a boost.

"I've seen it flourish and I've seen the demise of it and we're hoping that we're back on the upswing of it," say Salaam.

He says a facade grant is a good start, but in order to have a complete turnaround, ADICA members must begin to support not just business owners, but also promoters.

"I think the board should offer some type of incentives for people who want to do an investment to try to develop an event in downtown regardless of what it is," says Salaam.

He approached the board about a possible list of rules and guidelines that will help promoters through the process of trying to bring events to the area. ADICA members say it's a work in progress.

"I understand there is a need. It's very difficult to start a festival and there are some existing programs that we can mimic and that's what we intend to do so hopefully we will be able to help private individuals," says Aaron Blair.

In the future, Blair hopes to use the facade project as an example to show city leaders how the city is growing for the better.

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