Written by Tom Knighton
It looked like the idea of the multimodal center was dead. In the truest sense, it probably is. However, the Albany City Commission tentatively agreed to move forward with a request from the city manager’s office to spend money on another site study, despite the measure being voted down at the last regular session of the commission.
At Mayor Hubbard’s request, commission Bob Langstaff moved to revisit the issue after the commission voted 3-3 on funding the study. The tie, because commissioner Tommie Postell was absent, meant the measure was effectively voted down. By revisiting the measure, then tabling it for further discussion, it looks like the multimodal idea simply will not die.
However, the site discussions no longer have any mention of high speed rail, keeping this as strictly a bus station.
Assistant City Manager Wes Smith, acting on what he believed was the commission’s wishes, told commissioners that the first phase of the report would rate potential sites with a “pass/fail” scale rather than prioritizing sites and potentially lock them into a single site as happened last time.
Smith is requesting $150,000 to fund this study, and to begin paying for the next round of studies after the commission has selected their preferred site.
However, commissioner Bob Langstaff said he believes that most of the commission has already made up their mind that they want to keep the bus station right where it’s at. That opinion sent sparks flying as Postell said, “Are you saying that people are in cahoots with the Greyhound people?”
“You don’t have to be in cahoots with anyone,” Langstaff countered, arguing that it is simply his opinion based on discussion the commission has had.
The commission eventually voted in favor of assigning the money, a move that must be replicated at the regular meeting later this month.
Additionally, there was discussion about the cleanup of the manufactured gas plant, where Keith Gooden of Water, Gas & Light outlined the history of the project. In addition, he noted that testing indicates that the toxic chemicals found within the waste was not found within the city’s drinking water.
It has been detected in ground water in the area, but that water sits atop limestone which has kept the chemicals out of the Floridian aquifer where the city gets its drinking water from.