New Albany Transportation Center blends past, present, future

Credit: Alan Mauldin

Credit: Alan Mauldin

A week before the official opening of the new Albany Transportation Center, the building was nearly filled with a crowd celebrating its completion.

A Monday ribbon-cutting brought together current and former elected officials and other leaders as well as community members and family members of an Albany civil rights pioneer whose sacrifice is represented by a plaza outside the facility.

The West Oglethorpe Boulevard facility whose doors were opened to the public on Monday morning, has been more than two decades in becoming reality, and speakers referenced that long delay.

“I am overwhelmed at the turnout, and I believe this is a day we will remember for many years to come because it is a day we have waited for for many years to come,” Albany Mayor Bo Dorough said. “In a city where 35% of our citizens live under the poverty level, many of our residents ride city buses. I’d like to say that we as a commission are making a commitment to citizens who have been through this.”

Credit: Alan Mauldin

Credit: Alan Mauldin

The transportation facility, which will be a central point for city bus, Greyhound service, and cabs and bike traffic, also is the connection between downtown and the historic Harlem District, an area that once was a thriving black business area.

“We will continue to work for you and with you because this is the nexus between downtown and Harlem,” the mayor said.

Dorough also gave a history lesson, recounting the role of the late Charles Sherrod and Ola Mae Quatrteman, who on Jan. 12, 1962, refused to give up a seat on a bus, was arrested and later kicked out of Albany State University because of the incident.

“But she took a stand for her own dignity,” the mayor said. “By doing so, she became an inspiration for hundreds, then thousands and later millions.”

The outdoor plaza dedicated to Quarterman, represented by several relatives, including a son, in the audience, will eventually include a statue of the civil rights pioneer sitting on a bench.

“This new transportation center will move this city forward, but not without remembering our past,” U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop said. “The plaza dedicated to (Quarterman) is a testament to remembering history and remembering people who have made our country a better place to live.

“Projects like this connect and transform our communities. This increases the flow of people and resources and goods.”

Credit: Alan Mauldin

Credit: Alan Mauldin

Eighty percent of the $11.5 million budget for the construction project came through federal dollars, Bishop said.

“Today is part of a greater effort to build a more vibrant Albany and a more vibrant southwest Georgia,” he said.

Albany City Manager Steven Carter and City Commissioner Demetrius Young, in whose Ward VI the center is located, referenced the leaders who came before, including Carter’s predecessor, Sharon Subadan, who was in the audience.

“This was a lot of hard work that brought this here,” Young said. “I should have also been here because I’m the only city commissioner who rides the bus.

“With this representation, we can show these citizens we care about them. We have a first-class facility. At times this bus station was not open to all. This is a great day.”

Credit: Albany Herald

Credit: Albany Herald


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