Downtown development in Albany on the rise

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Business owners are praising Albany city officials for how well the downtown development has been going lately.

The initiative to attract residents to Albany began about a year ago with Pretoria Fields Brewery opening on Pine Avenue after city officials convinced Pretoria to house its tasting room downtown.

"[City officials have] also been huge allies supporting us whenever we need assistance as far as, you know, just a mentor for the next move," said Jennifer Harris, Director of Marketing for Pretoria.

Pretoria will celebrate its one year anniversary on Sunday and employees say they're grateful the downtown project was started.

Another store, Bandit and the Babe, moved to downtown Albany because the owner said it made sense financially.

"I feel like this city really wants downtown to work and instead of letting these old buildings go to waste, they're definitely putting a good price tag on it to encourage people to come downtown," said Julia Temples, owner of Bandit and the Babe.

City officials say people need to be patient.

"I know a lot of people would kind of like to see a lot of things kinda happen over night," said Jacquelyn Teemer, Interim Downtown Manager. "I'm certainly one of those people, I would like to see it happen really fast, but downtown didn't reach its decline overnight."

Some residents said crime is too bad in the area, but businesses there say they've had no problems with it.

The owner of Downtown Dawsyn said she's heard tons of rumors.

"Heard, you know, downtown's bad or downtown's unsafe, but once you get down here and kind of see what's going on down here, it's really not," said Morgan Layfield, owner of Downtown Dawsyn.

"There's tons of families down here, the Riverquarium's right across from our store, so it's just families and kids, the park's right across the road, you know, I've never felt uncomfortable at any time," said Layfield.

The city says they'll continue to hold family events in the future and continue encouraging small businesses to move in.

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