City of Albany receives national honor
The City of Albany has been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America program. This status signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach™. This plan utilizes a “Transformation Strategy” organized around four points – Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion, Organization – with the end goal of revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy.
Jessica Reynolds, director of the Office of Downtown Development and Georgia Main Street for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), said, “We are proud to recognize downtown Albany and the local leadership who have dedicated themselves to strengthening their community. We congratulate them on the commitment to excellence and stable leadership that led to this designation.”
Lequrica Gaskins, Albany’s Downtown City Manager, has 20 years of experience in economic development, and her current duties include working with developers implementing projects in the downtown area. She also serves as the Executive Director for both the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority (ADICA) and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for the City of Albany.
Gaskins lauded the Main Street Approach™ and the benefits to the city in relation to Albany’s accreditation. She said it adds value not only locally but on state and national levels, too.
“I understand the importance of implementing the 4-point approach and the economic value it brings to the community,” she said. “I understand the importance of actually implementing those strategies and seeing a continual stream of economic development opportunities occur within the downtown. I know the benefits that are associated with being a part of such an honorable accreditation process.”
The designation includes an annual assessment complete with performance standards and criteria of which cities must comply as well as a Memorandum of Understanding which is signed by DCA, Board of Directors, and a host of officials and stakeholders invested in the Albany’s success. Gaskins said Albany is committed to not only those values outlined in the Approach™ but also the content of the data and language in the MOU.
“It’s a benchmark for us to make sure we are checking off activities and complying with the rules that have been set before us,” she said. “My methodology is that we are exceeding those goals and performance standards.”
The Flint River Aquarium, Ray Charles musical memorial monument, a walkable downtown community, ample greenspace, a civil rights institution, a local brewery, and an iMax theater are among the many amenities Gaskins invites potential visitors to take advantage of in Albany. Entrepreneurs and those seeking residential living in downtown are also encouraged to explore the city for opportunities for success.
She said, “We have a bustling Board of Directors who are very forward in their thinking process in terms of innovative ideas in looking toward the future. If people come, they will be welcomed by people who learn your name and welcome you to our community.”
Gaskins adds, “We are excited about what the future holds.”