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Dukes, Edwards & Dukes, Inc. and LRA & Associates, Inc. Honored by Associated General Contractors

Dukes, Edwards & Dukes, Inc. (DED) and LRA & Associates, Inc. (LRA) were honored for their work in the construction industry by the Associated General Contractors of Georgia, Inc. (AGC) during the Awards Breakfast of their Annual Convention at Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa, June 6-9, 2019. Rep. Winfred Dukes attended the affair with Project Manager, Oscelius Farrar. DED and LRA won 1st Place in the 2019 Build Georgia Award Program for their collaboration on the Commodore Conyers College & Career Academy (4C) project for the Dougherty County Board of Education.

The AGC Build Georgia Award celebrates firms and projects demonstrating construction excellence. Winning projects represent the best the construction industry has to offer by both general contractors and specialty contractors who demonstrate their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Exceptional project safety performance
  • Overcoming the challenges of a difficult project
  • Innovation in construction techniques and materials
  • Excellence in project management and scheduling
  • Dedication to client service and customer care

“We are grateful to receive this prestigious award for working with LRA on a project so important to our education community,” said Dukes. “The 4C Academy partnership between the Dougherty County School System, Albany Technical College, Albany State University and our business community will benefit young people for years to come.  It will equip educators with a modernized facility to carry on a great legacy of academic excellence and achievement in Albany, Dougherty County and neighboring counties.”  Other school system partners include the Baker County School System, the Calhoun County School System, and the Terrell County School System.

Local participation in the 4C Academy project was highly successful with more than 90% local participation and more than 20% Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation.  John L. “Jake” Reese IV of LRA states, “The partnership between LRA Constructors, Inc. and Dukes, Edwards & Dukes, Inc. was formed to create value and better allow the client to meet and exceed its goals of budget, schedule and local participation.  We are very glad to have been the catalyst to make that happen.”

The 4C Academy project included renovations, modifications and additions to the previous Southside Middle School, originally constructed in 1962.  The 104,428 square foot state-of-the-art facility includes a multi-purpose community room and spaces for 14 career pathways ranging from healthcare and manufacturing to marketing and aviation. The existing gymnasium was transformed into robotics and engineering labs.

The team worked closely with the architect and engineers to provide solutions that met design intent, budget and the owner’s goals.  Completing four phases in 13 months required exemplary teamwork, detailed planning and seven-day workweeks, ultimately delivering a project under budget.

The Keynote Speaker for the Awards Breakfast and Program was Commander Kirk Lippold, USN (Ret.), who served as commander of the USS Cole in 2000, when it was targeted by a deadly Al Qaeda terrorist attack.

Outgoing President, Keven Kuntz, welcomed participants by inviting them to participate in numerous convention activities for members and families. AGC Georgia had something for everyone. Activities included business meetings and dinners, networking events, golf tournaments, Kids and Teens Clubs, and a Young Leadership Program Dinner. The Ladies’ Brunch was hosted by Mrs. Cheryle Kuntz.

The Closing Dinner featured the 2019 Skill, Integrity and Responsibility (SIR) Award presentation to Michael E. Kenig, Vice Chairman of Holder Construction Company in Atlanta, and the Installation of 2019-20 President, Brian Daniel.

The Associated General Contractors of Georgia, Inc. (known as AGC Georgia), one of 89 Chapters of The Associated General Contractors of America, was organized in Atlanta on March 15, 1928. Originally chartered as “Georgia Branch, Associated General Contractors of America, Inc.,” the chapter operated under this name until May 2012. AGC Georgia is the leading, statewide professional trade association representing the commercial construction industry in Georgia. The AGC of America represents more than 27,000 firms nationwide.

Founded in 1978, LRA Constructors, Inc. is a full service general contracting, design-build and construction management firm working in Georgia, Florida and Alabama and serving a diverse range of clients in the automotive, religious, healthcare, industrial, government, education, office, multi-unit, retail and specialty markets.

Dukes, Edwards & Dukes, Inc. is the evolution of nearly 60 years of hard work, dedication and a commitment to excellence. The company was started by Sylvester Dukes & Raymond Edwards as Dukes & Edwards Construction in 1951.  They were a non-bonded commercial masonry construction company that grew as general contractors. Winfred Dukes joined Dukes & Edwards more than 35 years ago as a masonry laborer.  He continued to build his skills by taking on positions as carpenter, construction superintendent, estimator and project manager. In 1988, the company was incorporated and became Dukes Edwards & Dukes, Inc.

For more information visit: www.agcga.org, www.lraconstructors.com, http://dukesedwardsdukes.com/.

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Solar Cell

Country Club Estates Reject Solar Farm Zoning Change

The residents of the Country Club Estates community are totally opposed to the solar farm project which would cover 25 acres of land and include more than 8,000 panels within walking distance of their front doors.  Albany City Commissioners denied the solar farm project earlier this summer that was later approved by the Zoning board.  Another full commission vote is scheduled for August 27, 2019.

This is too close for some residents who fear a dramatic increase in traffic, while others are concerned for wildlife that would be impacted by the construction. In an interview with WALB, Jasmine Williams said she feared her quiet neighborhood would change when she saw the proposal for a solar farm that would be steps from her home. “You don’t want all that traffic coming into this quiet neighborhood. This is a residential area and I would want that in a commercial area .”

Others have expressed support for the solar farm project in the area as long as it is handled correctly or “done right.” Some have suggested this project be considered in another part of Albany with a smaller residential population.

A major glitch in the proposal was a city ordinance that stated a solar farm in a two-mile radius of the airport would have to be reviewed by the FAA and prove no interference with airport operations.  According to one resident, Country Club Estates is not two miles from the airport.

Solar farms (sometimes known as solar parks or solar fields) are the large-scale application of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate green, clean electricity at scale, usually to feed into the grid. Solar farms can cover anything between 1 acre and 100 acres and are usually developed in rural areas.

The sentiment of some members of the County Club Estates Homeowners Association are that, this project will not add any value to homeowners while adding value to the people who own the companies.  Joyce Hardy, a Homeowners Association member mentioned the reasons she opposes the project include, “there are no benefits to our community.  This project will decrease our property values while the vegetation, wildlife, animals, bugs and creatures will increase.  The barbwire fences will imprison our neighborhood and give us a prison-like atmosphere.  We are a viable community and contribute greatly to the City of Albany.  This project shows a lack of concern for our neighborhood as a whole.”

The solar farm debate in Albany is far from over. The Country Club Estates community and the West Town community are strongly against the solar farm being located next door and in their backyards.  All concerned citizens of Albany are encouraged to attend the commission meeting on August  27th and voice your opposition to this proposal.

Sources: https://www.walb.com, https://www.npr.org, https://sciencing.com .

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Albany State University Summer Enrollment Increases From Previous Year

ALBANY, Ga–Summer semester enrollment at Albany State University (ASU) grew by 4.6 percent from last year, with numbers increasing to 2,590 compared to 2,475 in summer 2018. ASU has the second highest summer enrollment growth among the University System of Georgia (USG) comprehensive universities.

“The increase in summer enrollment is a reflection of the commitment of our University faculty and staff members. Everyone worked diligently to share the benefits of the institution,” said President Marion Ross Fedrick. “ASU faculty were more involved with activities inside and outside of the classroom, the volume and quality of student programming greatly increased, communication to our students improved and the list goes on. We are supporting our students in ways that they have not experienced before at ASU.”

Some students elect to take summer courses because of the opportunity to complete courses in advance and focus on a smaller course load. Year-Round Pell allows eligible students to use Pell Grant funds during fall, spring and summer semesters.

“We continue to see an increase in summer enrollment since year-round Pell Grants have been restored,” said Kenyatta Johnson, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “With access to the full grant amount being available during the summer semester, students are able to progress more quickly toward the attainment of their degree and decrease their amount of loan debt.”

Classes begin on August 19, 2019, for the fall semester. More than 6,200 students have currently registered and more are expected to register in the coming weeks

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My Vision of the Future for Albany / Dougherty County

By Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard, Ward 1

By Correcia J. Edmondson

Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard, Ward 1

City Commissioner John Howard
City Commissioner John Howard

The 2020 year is just around the corner. We as elected officials have some challenges ahead of us in the coming year(s). Local government must partnership with local stakeholders and address systemic problems in our city. For examples, generational poverty, crime, high school dropouts, unskilled workers, mental illness, and develop a plan of action for the millennial generation.

All elected and appointed officials and stakeholders must sit down and develop a comprehensive economic development strategy and bring together public and private doctors in the creation of an economic roadmap to diversity and strengthen our city economy. Also, a comprehensive plan(s) and community-based planning process that draws on the general public, stakeholders, experts and others to plan for future development of our city and surrounding areas.

Correcia J. Edmondson

First, congratulations to the Southwest Georgian newspaper for serving the various media needs of Albany, GA, and surrounding communities for so many years. 

Asked to describe how I envision the future of Albany, Dougherty County, I first share what I have observed. There has been a

Correcia J.Edmondson
Correcia J.Edmondson

conscious effort to ensure gainful employment opportunities within the municipality itself, federal and state government facilities located here, and various private industry companies including locally owned businesses. Further, educational and training opportunities via Dougherty County Public School System and various private schools, Albany State University, Albany Technical College, Troy University, and Turner Job Corps Center have been made available to help citizens and neighboring community citizens acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities to secure gainful employment. This helps chart labor force and economic growth for our area.  

Our city needs the contribution of the faith-based community as a body of consultants to offer wise counsel and a sense of stability for our community. It is important to maintain such relationships.

Finally, I envision diversity in our community and equally diverse government leadership to adequately represent all who make up Albany, Dougherty County. Let us embrace, not sabotage, economic growth opportunities; let us support competent leadership; and let us build and maintain good community relationships to remain “The Good-life City” in the future.

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“C. J.’s law” toughens Georgia’s penalty for hit and run

Act 151, which originated as Senate Bill 1, enacts “C.J.’s Law” which makes hit-and-run accidents that result in serious injury a felony. Prior to this law, the charge carried a maximum five-year sentence. The penalty is now increased up to 10 years.

The legislation is named for Charlie E. Jones, 23, known as C.J. to family and friends.  Jones was walking along Piedmont Road in Cobb County on January 24, 2009, when authorities said a driver hit him and left the scene.  Seriously injured, Jones was lying in the roadway when another car ultimately struck and killed him.  The second driver stayed to report the accident.

A crash is generally classified as a hit-and-run when at least one person involved in the incident flees the scene before offering sufficient information or aid to the other parties involved or fails to report the crash.  Due to the rise in hit and runs in the state and throughout the country Georgia lawmakers are pushing for tougher sentences. “CJ’s Law” is widely supported by Georgia district attorneys.

According to a study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Deaths, hit-and-run crashes in the United States are now at an all-time high.  It has been reported that 2049 people (72 in Georgia) were killed by hit-and-run crashes in 2016, which is a 62 percent increase from 2009, the last year in which a downward trend was recorded. The AAA study found that 65 percent of fatal hit-and-run collisions were pedestrians or cyclists and that almost 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths over the last decade were caused by hit-and-run crashes, compared to 1 percent of driver fatalities.

Georgia ranked fourth in the U.S. for most fatal hit-and-run crashes. In 2017, 260 pedestrians were killed on state roads, up from 232 in 2016. The 260 deaths were double the number killed in 2011, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). Fulton and DeKalb counties lead the state for the most fatal wrecks involving pedestrians, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics.  In Georgia, 133 pedestrians were killed on roads during the first half of 2018, the report projects. That’s a 32 percent increase compared to the first half of 2017.

The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads in 2018, was the highest it has been since 1990, with 32 more Georgia deaths recorded last year than 2017, according to a projection released by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The report estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads in 2018.

The AAA study found that hit-and-run crashes involving pedestrians are most likely to occur between midnight and 4 a.m., when suspects are more likely to escape unseen; on roads with lower speed limits, where pedestrians are most likely to cross; and in areas with heavy foot traffic. Fatal pedestrian accidents happen most often in urban or suburban areas, are outside of intersections, and are on busy roads designed mainly to funnel vehicle traffic toward freeways.  Crashes were increasingly likely to involve SUVs and high-horsepower vehicles.  Although inclement weather was not found to be a causal effect in the increase of hit and runs, drivers are encouraged to cut their speeds, be more vigilant and exercise safety precautions by making sure headlights are on.

The suspected causes of the rise in hit-and-runs varies.  Some say improvements in road design, vehicle design and lighting and speed limit enforcement all have a role to play in addressing the issue.  Other factors include population growth, the amount of time people spend walking and the shift in car sales from passenger cars to light trucks, which cause “more severe pedestrian impact than cars,” the GHSA report says. Yet another possible factor named in the report is smartphone use though the report notes there isn’t enough evidence to link the increase in smartphone use with the increase in pedestrian deaths.  Pedestrian crashes have been blamed on a pedestrian mistake, such as not using a crosswalk when one is available. 

AAA said drivers can avoid hit-and-run crashes by being aware of their surroundings, yielding to crossing pedestrians even if they’re not in designated crosswalks and giving cyclists “plenty” of space when passing them on the road. Should drivers get involved in a crash with a pedestrian or cyclist, they should stay on the scene, call 911 and offer any aid possible.

Sources: 

http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20192020/SB/1 
https://abcnews.go.com/US/hit-run-deaths-time-high-aaa-study/story
https://www.apnews.com/430d8a364dbf4dd191224c5a60f1efd3
https://www.ghsa.org/

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Albany Teens Attend The 63 RD Annual Southeastern Region Teen Leadership Conference Sponsored By Jack And Jill Of America, Inc.

They hate to see us at our best, which is why we never rest! Seventeen teens from the local chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc., a family focused organization that focuses on serving the needs of

African-American children, attended the 63rd Annual Southeastern Region Teen Leadership Conference. The conference, attended by over 1,20000 teens and parents, was held June 26 – 30th, 2019, in sunny Hollywood, Florida.

The Teens enjoyed five power packed days, planned and executed by the Regional Teen Executive Board, of leadership training, community service and networking with other teens from across the southeastern region of Jack & Jill which includes Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi

The Teens fellowshipped at a welcome reception beside the intercostal waterway on Wednesday evening. Thursday’s business plenary session, which included the annual Ann Owen Gordon Regional Oratorical Competition, was followed by a spirited intramural game day in which the Albany teens placed 1st in flag football

The Albany Teens rose early on Friday to campaign for Preston Jones, Candidate for Teen Regional Vice- President. Although another older teen was elected to the position, the campaign was a rousing display of support and confidence in Preston’s leadership. The Teens spent the afternoon serving others, making hand looped baby blankets for a children’s hospital, packing non-perishable meals and filling book bags for children

A morning of leadership development workshops on Saturday focused on topics from finance to personal marketing to collegiate academics and was closed out with a memorable leadership luncheon and panel discussion featuring Regional Teen President Jordyn Allen of the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Chapter and The Honorable Bakari Sellers. Sellers entered the political arena in 2006 at age 22 as the youngest African American Elected Official in the nation and the youngest member in history of the South Carolina State Legislature.

The Senior Gala on Saturday night celebrated the accomplishments and college plans of all graduating seniors, including the Albany Chapter’s only graduating senior, Myles McCoy, who will be studying mechanical engineering and running track at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL, this fall.

This year’s attendees were outgoing Albany Teen President Preston Jones (Deerfield Windsor School Rising Junior), President -Elect Taylor Huff (Dougherty HS Rising Senior), Myles McCoy (Graduate of Westover HS), Rising Seniors James Hopson (Lee County HS) and Jayson Griswold (Dougherty HS), Rising Juniors Jordan Moser (Deerfield Windsor School), Kenadi Dyer(Westover HS), Anealia Ryant (Westover HS), Norman Newton (Westover HS), Baron Hopson (Lee County HS), Rising Sophomores Shawn Ross (Westover HS), Madison McCoy (Westover HS), Julia Solomon (Dougherty HS), Taniyah Hampton (Westover HS), Vincent Williams (Westover HS), and Kole Fortson (Westover HS) and Rising Freshman John Hopson (Deerfield Windsor School). The Teens were chaperoned by Teen Sponsors Mona McCoy and Dr. Kendra Huff and Moms Nedra Fortson, Patricia Hampton, Michele Newton, and Terrie Williams.

This year’s theme, “They Hate to See Us at Our Best, That’s Why We Never Rest” resonated throughout the conference. When asked about the conference theme, National President Danielle Brown responded, “In a time when the freedom and lives of many people who look like us are in peril, it is important that we learn every lesson we can about who we are as a people, understanding both our history and future. So, when faced with hatred, racism, discrimination or indifference, we have the courage to rise-up, educate, and fight back.”

Founded in Philadelphia, PA. in 1938, Jack and Jill of America, Inc., is a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2-19, dedicated to nurturing future African-American leaders by strengthening children throughout leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving, and civic duty. The goals of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., are simple: to develop the next generation of leaders in government, technology, business and industry. Today, Jack and Jill boasts more than 245 chapters nationwide, representing more than 40,000 family members.

The Albany, GA, Chapter was the first chapter formed in the state of Georgia in 1950. The AlbanyChapter will celebrate 70 years of service in the Albany community in 2020. The current chapter members are: Loucresia Berry, Kimberly Bodiford, Kisha Davis, Charlice Dukes, Christine Ford, Nedra Fortson, Rae Fussell, Jazmine Gilbert, Maqueta Griswold, Patricia Hampton, Staphanie Dyer, Marquetta Harvey, CaMia Hopson, Narkis Howard, Kendra Huff (President), Remy Hutchins, Lisa Love, Mona McCoy, Shauntae Motley, Magalie Nelson, Michele Newton, Ashley Smith, Marion Ryant, Alfreda Sheppard, Hope Frye, Natasha Webb, Courtney Williams, SaJuana Williams, Terrie Williams, Alphonese Wilson and Marva Ross.

The 2020 Southeastern Region Teen Leadership Conference will be held in Nashville, TN.

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Georgia’s Path2College Plan

College and University costs are skyrocketing.  People are getting crushed under the pressure of student loans. Georgia has provided a way for students to get a jump start on saving for the journey through higher education with The Path2College 529 Plan.

The Path2College 529 Plan, established in 2002, under the Georgia Student Finance Commission, is Georgia’s tax-advantaged college savings plan families can use to help pay for higher education expenses such as tuition, fees, certain room and board costs, books, supplies, equipment required for college enrollment, and K-12 tuition.  Families can invest in a Path2College 529 Plan for as little as $25.  Savings from the plan can be used at any accredited college in the United States and can also be used for students seeking a technical college certificate or diploma, four-year degree, or graduate degree.  It’s available to any citizen or taxpayer. Grandparents other family members and friends can help contribute.

There are a variety of low-cost investment portfolios to choose from including age-based, multi-fund, single-fund and guaranteed options. Funds can be used at most accredited colleges and universities in the United States and certain colleges abroad. Up to $10,000 annually can be used toward K-12 school tuition per student from all 529 plans.

Earnings are free from federal tax, and many states offer a state income tax deduction or tax credit for contributions. Withdrawals are tax-free at both the federal and state level when used for qualified education expenses.  State tax treatment of withdrawals for K-12 tuition expense is determined by the state where you file state income tax.

Path2College 529 Plan contributions are deductible for Georgia income tax purposes up to $4,000 per year, per beneficiary, for those filing a single return. Those limits double beginning January 1, 2020. Any earnings on those contributions in the Path2College 529 Plan are federal and Georgia income tax-deferred.

Withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses are federal and Georgia income tax-free. In addition, distributions from the Path2College 529 Plan for elementary and secondary school tuition are Georgia and federal income tax free up to a maximum of $10,000 a year per beneficiary.

The Path2College 529 Plan recently reached the $3 Billion savings milestone, and fees for families saving in the plan will be reduced. This reduction in fees is projected to save Path2College 529 Plan account owners approximately $300,000 annually.

As of March 31, 2019, the Path2College 529 Plan had more than 170,000 accounts and more than $890 million has been withdrawn to pay for education-related expenses. The Path2College 529 Plan was listed on Clark Howard’s Honor Roll, and it was rated in the “Top 10 Performing” by SavingforCollege.com.  For more information visit: https://www.path2college529.com.

Source:  Georgia Student Finance Commission

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Hand Vote No

The Russians Are Back:  Actually They Never Left!

By now you’ve heard the stories about how Russia used social media bots to persuade the American people to vote or not vote in the 2016 presidential election.  It was a coordinated and sophisticated attack on a grand scale, a war that the U.S. has never faced before. A war of disinformation, gas lighting and repetitive physiological warfare with social media accounts masquerading as real people but really were just Russian bots. Millions of people have been influenced by celebrities tweeting and sharing fake information.  Even politicians did the same thing often knowing it was fake.

It struck many as odd, because Hilary R. Clinton won the popular vote and was projected by many polls to be a clear winner, but she wasn’t. Weeks and months later it came to light from the top U.S. intelligence agencies that Russians had interfered in our elections on behalf of Donald J. Trump. Still, questions remain whether  he knew or not. The facts are, Russia sowed seeds of doubt in the American people for the benefit of the Republican nominee is of grave consequence.  According to Axios, “A new study by the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) states that, 770,005 analyzed tweets in English were from known Russian troll accounts.”  This data also corresponded with poll data from FiveThirtyEight’s archive of multiple polling outlets as well.

Every 25,000 retweets of Russian accounts correlated to a 1% increase in Trump’s poll numbers one week later.  Given the frequency of tweets from Russian accounts, 25,000 retweets would average around 10 retweets per tweet.  Retweets did not have a similar effect on Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.  The study also found that 91% of first retweeters of known Russian bots were non-Russian bots, which suggests that propaganda spread into networks of real U.S. citizens.

After a huge backlash, social media giants were urged to increase security measures and eradicate all the fake accounts.  To their credit they did the best that they could but they didn’t get it all.  Now, just in time for 2020 election, the bots are beginning to ramp up their presence. Silicon Valley is set to monitor tweets and engagements dealing with the first presidential debates.   When Russians first began to try to persuade the American people with lies and fabrications, according to Menlo Park (CBS SF/CNN). “the social media companies shared with Congress that during the 2016 campaign, the Russian troll group later charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, sent thousands of social media posts on debate nights. The U.S. intelligence community has warned that Russian efforts to spread disinformation through social media have continued “virtually unabated” since 2016.” 

If you noticed, after the first Democratic Debates of 2019, there was an influx of tweets about Kamala Harris’ ethnicity.  These attacks were traced backed to an account by the black MAGA (Make America Great Again) supporter, Ali Alexander. He said, “Kamala Harris is *not* an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican. I’m so sick of people robbing American Blacks (like myself) of our history. It’s disgusting. These are my people not her people, freaking disgusting.”  He goes on to explain, “she is a person of color, not an African-American.”  This was retweeted, shared and liked by thousands and even shared by Donald Trump, Jr., to his millions of followers. It echoes the early 2000’s of his father, when he started the ‘ birtherism’ conspiracy theory that Obama was a secret Kenyan Muslim. The apex of birtherism lead to Obama having to show his birth certificate. 

Although this topic is not being circulated in the news media as much as it should be, there is a very real active cyber threat and it extends to the 2020 Presidential election. Always question the source of your information, always verify the information with credible sources and double-check what you’re sharing with your friends.

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Home Ownership as Economic Development Strategy for Albany

How do we begin to address the persistent poverty and socioeconomic issues that continue to plague the “Good Life” city?  First, we must look at the numbers to understand how they affect the quality life of educational attainments and health, both physical and mental health, of our community.  According to Welfare information, the poverty rate in Albany is 33.2%, meaning one out of every 3 residents of Albany lives in poverty or 23,632 of its 71,129 residents have reported income levels below the poverty line of $24,250 for a family of four.  The poverty rate is 16.3% higher than the state’s rate of 16.9%, which is almost double.  Albany, and its citizenry, need to address this staggering statistic if the community wants to remain competitive in an ever-changing economic development environment.

Homeownership, as an economic development strategy, is the gateway into the American dream.  A dream deferred needs to happen now, no longer waiting to realize the American Dream, but rather moving the needle forward to reality, right here, right now.  The number of homes that are owner-occupied housing in Albany Georgia is at 45%, meaning that we have work to do to reach the national average of 64% of owner-occupied housing.  Homeownership vitally important to help eradicate poverty. Owning real estate is one of the best ways to raise economic status and increase wealth.

The Albany Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has seen a steady decline in population over the years, with a decline of .681%.  The Albany MSA can manage the population decline by creating an aggressive strategy to address homeownership and population decline, attract the retiring community and retain its youth.  In reviewing homeownership as an economic development strategy, there are three areas of homeownership to consider: 1st time homebuyers, homebuyers seeking to upgrade, and retirees.  To determine the need, low-income or affordable housing must also be considered.  We will begin by reviewing a proposed economic development strategic planning process for homeownership.

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