When I think about Albany, I think about a city that’s the central hub of South Georgia and has plenty of room to grow. This is an article of opinion. It’s a collection of thoughts that I’m sharing. It’s not me vs. you or anyone else. But I believe it’s something worth sharing. This is no attempt to hide or diminish any of the issues Albany faces. There are plenty of them. This is, however, a reminder of what’s good and what’s right about where we live. And I believe that’s important. These are some of the reasons why I like Albany.
1The people make things worthwhile
I’ve lived in Albany for a little over six years. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about what’s right in Albany is the people I’ve gotten to know and love.
I’m not from here – that’s right, I’m an outsider who decided he wanted to stay here. But I love the reminder that people relate to people, and I’ve met so many wonderful people ever since I moved here years ago.
2The sunsets are on fire – in a good way
Likely the number one visual that comes to mind when I think of Albany and South Georgia is the beautiful, blazing sunsets. Hues of pink and purple and orange and blue streak across the sky unlike any other place I’ve lived. It’s just beautiful.
3There is always someone to help
This is an important one because I see Albany as an underdog city. Plenty of people here need help or are hurting in one way or another, and that means a prime opportunity for community and public service. If you are someone who is not in need or hurting, you have just qualified yourself to help those around you. It’s a privilege to be able to do that.
4People actually know each other
Albany may have a big city logo, but Albany is not a big city. It’s a place where you can run into people you know more than once a week. It’s a place where a traffic jam means more than 6 cars are backed up at a traffic light. And it’s a place where, because people know each other, community bonds are quickly built.
5Gas is cheap
It’s true – gas is cheaper in Albany than many other parts of the state. And that’s a good thing, especially if you aren’t going to those other parts of the state. Driving through and around Albany in a car may be hectic in your commute, but it’s a bit cheaper. And to me, that stands for something.
6Really good churches
If you want to go see who is doing a lot of the community building and helping around Albany, visit your closest church. Albany has a lot. When it comes to community, churches collectively deliver more opportunities than many realize – largely thanks to volunteers. So the next time you see a local pastor or volunteer in public, tell them thanks, and that you’ll see them at church this Sunday.
7No snow (almost)
This one may actually have more people divided than I realize, but it’s worth noting. Albany has mild winters and consistent calendars with very little to no snow. If you’re not a fan of cold temps and frozen precip, you’ve made it!
8Peanuts (lots of them)
South Georgia is home to the peanut capitol of the world, and Albany is its next door neighbor. So naturally, peanuts abound. Salted, roasted, boiled, cajun – they’re all here. And we are better for it.
9The Flint River
Not every city has a river flowing through it, but Albany does. It’s not the biggest or the prettiest, but it’s unique, natural, and feeds many popular water basins in the area. And if you’re downtown, you can take a stroll down the paths by the river and listen to the water rush by.
10The Kendrick Brothers
It wasn’t the popular idea at the time, but making movies in Albany, Georgia was something the Kendrick Brothers were meant to do. With the help of many volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church, they produced the first of a group of movies that have turned ordinary parts of Albany into living icons. The Kendrick Brothers still make movies, but aren’t limited to their hometown anymore. Meanwhile in Albany, they’ve created a legacy for years to come.
11ABY (Albany Airport)
The Albany Airport is an important place that connects the area with Atlanta and destinations beyond. Small, quaint, and with just one gate, the Albany Airport is just the right size and delivers flights into and out of the city for travelers. Since its renovation several years ago, the building is clean, cool, and ready for connections.
A (relatively) new addition to Albany, Pretoria Fields is a marked change in the sentiment toward downtown and the people who enjoy the core part of the city. With their localized farm and micro-brewery mix and a large footprint on Pine Avenue, Pretoria Fields has re-ignited a spark for downtown business, living, and entertainment.
Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany represents the city’s second largest employer and is an important part of the area. From tanks and trucks to thousands of local jobs, MCLB drives the Albany economy in an important way. Thanks to all the Marines and civilians who work at the base.
14Room to grow
Albany is in a unique position in that new businesses have an advantage that they would not ordinarily get in a larger city. The small size of Albany and the direct community ties that exist here deliver opportunities for entrepreneurs that aren’t the same in other places. Startup costs are lower, building lease costs are lower, and taxes are lower, just to name a few. Opportunity is out there, and we hope more people will seize it.
Albany holds a level of historic significance in the history of music and civil rights. As the birthplace of Ray Charles, Albany has a distinct memorial in his honor. The Albany Civil Rights Museum near downtown memorializes the Civil Rights movement as well as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s involvement with the Albany Movement.
16A rough past
There’s no question Albany has experienced times of hardship, but I believe the city is in a better place after those times. The flood of 1994 comes to mind first. Heavy rains from a stalled storm brought the Flint River well past flood stage and caused widespread damage. Hurricane Michael ripped into Albany in 2018 as a Category 2 storm leaving a path of destruction. I believe times of hardship deliver opportunity for later growth, and Albany is proof of that.
17A bright future
I do believe Albany’s best days are ahead of it. Business opportunities, people that care, and a unique atmosphere that allows good things to happen when the right people come together. I want to be part of that.
If you enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll share it with a friend. We all have our opinions, and these are mine. Thanks for reading this article.
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