Hometown Makeover Committee addresses Albany City Council

Posted October 13, 2021 at 9:01 am

A new local Hometown Makeover Committee has been formed in Albany and a representative of that organization, Wendy Holden, introduced herself and gave information about the new organization at last week’s special meeting of the Albany City Council.

Holden spoke for the group, which also saw a few other members of the new committee on hand.

Holden said she had long time ties to the Albany area, but a most recent resident of seven months, after moving here from Connecticut.

She told the mayor and council that after moving here, she “wanted to help the community” and has joined with other local residents to form the new Hometown Makeover Committee.

She noted the early theme of the group was “Hometown Makeover” and would be concentrating on downtown beautification of the city.

Holden said the entire scope of the committee’s plans was an eight page document and admitted it could take two to 14 or so years to complete the things they would like to see accomplished.

Currently, the membership stands at 14 total, with 12 direct and two other in-direct members. They currently meet every other Tuesday, usually at 6 p.m., with locations to be announced prior to each.

Holden presented a one page “scope,” in phases, of the accomplishments the new organization would like to see made and her question to the council was “How would you like for us to share (our) information with the community?”

Holden noted that some early work, including cleaning up areas in preparation for the upcoming Foothills Festival and more had already begun.

The Hometown Makeover Committee–Plan Overview, dated October 5, 2021, which was presented to the council and media, reads as follows:

Scope: Transform downtown Albany and selected landmarks in Albany into a vibrant place where people want to visit, socialize, and work.

Committee: 12 Direct Members, two Indirect Members. Started July 12, 2021.

Meeting Frequency: Team meets every other Tuesday.

Proposed Plan: Phase I–Operation Clean-Up (Storefronts/Building/Property)

* Approach owners for aesthetic improvements; paint, curtains, signage, etc. Address unoccupied areas to improve appearance.

* Current focus:

— Collection of businesses/buildings/areas in need of cleanup, keeping upcoming Judicial Center possibilities top of mind. Currently at 17 buildings/properties identified.

— Cleanup around town prior to the Foothills Festival.

— Surveying downtown Albany businesses in what they would like to see in downtown.

Phase 2–Beautification

* Albany Brand–Who do we want to be and what do we want to stand for?

* Design a downtown brand/logo based on the character of the city and county.

* Should Albany/Clinton County have a slogan?

* New signage for the city.

* Make upstairs/empty locations look in business (staged, signage, windowscapes, etc.).

* Murals/Upgraded Awnings/Window Logos/Pressure Washing.

* Ways to make the Albany community feel like part of the town.

* How we honor our Hometown Heroes…mural, statue, museum, etc.

* Could downtown be made a historical district…Granville Hotel and Dyer Drug listed as historic.

Phase 3–Community Events

* Once cleaned up and branding talked through, what kind of events would the community want to see in downtown Albany (Ex. tree lighting, art contest with paintable statues, concerts, etc.)

Phase 4–Walkability and Living

* Address what would improve the walkability of the community (Ex. Pedestrian crossing signs, extended sidewalks, bringing more businesses to downtown Albany, downtown living, etc.)

Accomplishments/Quick Wins:

* Several conversations in the works regarding potential grants and what that could mean for the City of Albany.

* Graffiti covered up on the Foothills Festival and Freddie Burchett properties with the help of the mayor.

* Owners of First & Farmer’s building on the square have put blinds up to cover what is inside.

* Dollar General shopping cart and trash can behind Foothills building is cleaned up and gone.

* Committee has made two trips around the square and surrounding areas collecting trash, leaf blowing, window washing and weed pulling.

* And many more to come.