Downtown Albany Manager looks back at last year

It's been one year since Aaron Blair was hired to revitalize Downtown Albany. / Sarah Bleau

One year ago, the Downtown Albany area had more empty buildings and a practically non-existing nightlife. But things have changed since then.

Albany Downtown Manager Aaron Blair is recognizing his one year anniversary since relocating his family from Florida to help revitalize the downtown area, and he says it's been a good year for both his family and Downtown Albany.

In the last year, Blair has helped bring more restaurants, shopping and nightlife to the area. He played a role in establishing the monthly Nights @ Dtown events. New retail areas such as Verge, Global Essence and the Downtown Farm Market have opened up shop, as well as restaurants like Grace's Country Cooking and The Pizza Shop.

Blair says his biggest accomplishment during the last year is winning the people back and rekindling their enthusiasm and pride for Downtown Albany.

"We still always have naysayers and we probably will. We could be thriving Savannah downtown and still have some naysayers, but for the most part people are very receptive most people are behind the effort most people are really trying to help us along the way," says Blair.

In the next year, he says he plans to bring more residential spaces to downtown and well as continue on projects like the art park in the Old Napa building and retail and offices at the Albany Theatre. A new sports bar is also scheduled to open in the near future in Downtown Albany.