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Waterfront project gets thumbs up
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Waterfront project gets thumbs up

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The city hopes to use CARA money to redevelop the riverfront, which currently has just one building and several parking lots between the Ellsworth Street Bridge and the senior center at the entrance of Monteith Riverpark.

The new Albany City Council that will take office in January already has a big project to work on.

On Wednesday, the Central Albany Revitalization Area board gave the thumbs up to the waterfront project, a revitalization effort of the area along Water Avenue in downtown Albany that could include new stage areas, splash pads and additional recreation facilities. 

Albany city councilors make up half the 12-person board, and several councilors at Wednesday's meeting spoke out against taking action on the project until after the new council is seated. Three of the six council seats changed hands in the Nov. 3 election, and a fourth will be appointed in January to replace Councilor Alex Johnson II, who won his race for mayor. 

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Councilors Rich Kellum and Dick Olsen said the decision should wait for the new council, and incoming Councilor Matilda Novak agreed. 

City Manager Peter Troedsson reminded the board that governing bodies turn over regularly, often leaving decisions for a new body. 

The waterfront project is currently being designed by the firm Walker Macy, which is expected to deliver buildable plans to the city. Whether those plans are built will be a council decision. Overall, the project is expected to sunset the CARA urban renewal district, using the majority of its remaining spending authority of about $20 million. 

CARA did not officially vote on moving forward but instead gave a thumbs up from the majority of the board members. Moving forward with the design of the project, the board said, does not tie the city to completing the project. 

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Design firm Walker Macy returned to the Central Albany Revitalization Area board Wednesday night to take it to the river. 

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