This past weekend’s home opener for the Albany Panthers was an epic game. The field goal as time expired elevated the game to a level I’ve never experienced as a fan of arena football. However, no amount of play on the field could completely take my mind off of what I had seen before the game.
Dirt and grime around vents in the corner made the James H. Gray Civic Center look as though it’s seen better days … or at least cleaner ones. So what’s going on?
I’ve questioned the spending going on downtown, and been told repeatedly that the spending is essential if we are going to revive downtown Albany to its former glory. The Civic Center, I’ve been told, is part of that effort; a jewel ripe for attracting new events to our fair city.
I may not necessarily agree with the defenders, but I’m also realistic enough to know that I’m not always right. I believe I am, but most people with an opinion feel the same way. However, can’t we agree that if the Civic Center is going to attract events, it should at least look like we give a flip how it looks?
Frankly, it looks nasty. I don’t know if it’s dirt, or stains, or mildew. It was too high up for me to get up there and take a look. I’m sure that height has contributed to any lack of upkeep in those areas. Unfortunately, those who may consider using the Civic Center may not see it that way. Instead, they may well see a center whose management can’t be bothered with the little things. That can translate to not meeting their own needs as well.
I’ll admit that downtown is looking a lot better than it used to. New businesses with interesting business models are making use of downtown in ways that I can only hope will continue. But part of the effort was supposed to be more events at the Civic Center to bring business downtown after 5 p.m.
We need to find out exactly what the problem is, and what is needed to fix it. It won’t keep me from a Panthers game, but it might keep the next big concert or event from coming to town, and that’s a shame.
Written by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at TomKnighton.com, as well as SWGAPolitics.com. A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman. Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and currently serves as Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia.