We moved to Albany eleven years ago from Statesboro, Georgia. We moved because my wife’s office in Statesboro had closed. She told me, “We can go anywhere in the country that you like.” I told her that we had to stay in Georgia. She then told me that Georgia limits us to Atlanta or Albany. I had lived near Atlanta growing up, and I knew that was not the environment that I wanted for our children, so I told her that it looks like we were going to Albany!
An older cousin of mine had worked for the telephone company which required him to move several times around the state before retiring to Barnesville, Georgia. He told me that I would love Albany. Of all the places that he had to live for his job, his favorite was Albany. Of course he corrected how I pronounced the name. “It is called All Benny,” he said. Likewise, I have a friend that told me that he loves to come down here to go quail hunting. He said that Albany is great because everything seems like it did ten years ago.
I was interested in checking out what was to be our new home. We knew nothing more than what we had heard about the place. We had never been to Albany so all of this would be new to us.
When we got here, we picked an exit off of the Hwy 82 bypass. We got off on Jefferson and headed south until we got to a road that took us to Slappey Drive. Once on Slappey, we made our way home. I remember being very disappointed. This was going to be my new town, and yet it appeared that someone had dropped a bomb on the place.
Coming home earlier this week, I heard about the drive-by shooting that happened near the Woodall’s on Slappey. I also heard about the base realignment where we could possibly lose our military base. Since we have moved here, we have lost Bob’s Candy, Merk and Cooper Tire. Those two were big businesses and I don’t see an effort by large groups of people in the community who care to really attract big business.
Recently my wife told me that she had taken a promotion which would put her in the Savannah office. I have always loved Savannah and wanted to live there. This was my chance to bid farewell to the Good Life City. However, I chose to stay here in Albany. I suppose that one can put down some roots when he is in a city ten years. There is so much to love about this town. My friend was right that it does seem like things are 10 or 20 years behind the rest of the world. Don’t get me wrong, that is a good thing. I often feel like I have the chance to raise our sons in an environment that is not too different than when I was a boy.
Albany does have several challenges though. I only personally know of two people that have been murdered, and both were here in Albany. We have a crime problem. There is poverty in this town that can be shocking. I don’t pity our new Mayor. There is lots of work that needs to be done, but there are so many jewels in this town. It will be interesting to see what solutions the new Mayor has to help us return to truly being the Good Life City.
Written by Bill Waller. Mr. Waller is a author and contributor local blog, Southwest Georgia Politics. He enjoys writing, traveling, and researching history. He currently resides in Albany, Georgia.