After years of talking about it, Albany is trying to follow its neighbors on the Willamette River by stimulating redevelopment of its riverfront. The first step — you guessed it — is finding a consultant.
Albany’s urban renewal agency will try to buy a downtown property. They don’t want the public to know which one, but it sounds like the building and parking lot of the former Wells Fargo branch on First Avenue.
So what comes next for CARA, the central Albany urban renewal district? Mayor Sharon Konopa has an idea, and she mentioned it Saturday at the completion ceremony of the city’s two-year downtown streetscape project.
Albany’s downtown renewal board may now be on its way to setting priorities for completing its mission. That’s the vague but hopeful main news from Wednesday’s monthly session of the CARA advisory board.
CARA is being asked to give $10,000 to another downtown Albany building venture, but the push for major projects to complete and then wind up the 17-year-old urban renewal program seems to remain stalled.
Whether anything comes of this is uncertain, but Albany’s downtown urban development board last week heard about an idea for turning a vacant store into shared office space and a couple of meeting rooms.
Now that the downtown streetscape project is winding down, Albany’s urban renewal agency will have to decide what to do next. One potential idea: Put on a push to improve the neighborhood east of Lyon Street by rebuilding the streets and upgrading the houses that need it.