Albany, Georgia , county seat of Dougherty County, serves as southwest Georgia's primary economic, cultural and transportation hub. It is located 145 miles south of booming Atlanta and lies at the head of the Flint River. The city has quick access to the markets of Florida, Alabama and Georgia, along with accessibility to global markets through Atlanta, making it the primary trade center for the Southeast region. Determined to retain its small town charm and quality of living, Albany also enjoys the amenities of a metropolitan area.
In 1998, Albany was rated by Money Magazine as 'the most livable city in Georgia'. Located in the Plantation Trace region, yesterday's cotton and indigo plantations have been converted into quail-hunting preserves. Today, it is known as the 'Quail Hunting Capital of the World.'
While forestry and farming are still a large part of Albany, the city also boasts a diversified industrial economy, being home to large firms such as Cooper Tire, Merck Pharmaceuticals and Proctor and Gamble. The Marine Corps Logistic Base (MCLB) is also stationed here, and the Defense Industry thrives in Albany. The Data Processing and Communication Industries are discovering the city, along with the Auto Parts and Transportation Equipment manufacturing companies. Five interstates are accessible through four lane highways that extend from Albany, making overnight trucking service possible as far west as Texas and as far north as Pennsylvania, allowing Albany to be a prime location for manufacturing and distribution.
The Albany/Dougherty Economic Development Commission offers many unique tax incentives to incoming businesses, as does the state of Georgia itself. The Federal Government has designated Albany to be an Enterprise Community, meaning that employers in chief Enterprise Zones are eligible for even more tax incentives. The state of Georgia is creating more jobs than any other state except Florida, and Dougherty County and Albany are reaping the rewards.
Albany's population of almost 77,000 (census 2000) enjoys an outstanding educational system. Dougherty County itself has SAT and ACT scores ranging in the top 10 percent statewide, and its elementary, middle and high schools are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Dougherty County School System is the first in Georgia to implement the Cisco Networking Academy Program, a partnership with the Cisco Corporation that provides students with education in the computer-networking field.
Albany State University, Darton College and Albany Technical College are all located here. Albany Tech offers a Quick Start program, which aids new industries coming into the area, by designing training programs for its employees, ensuring that they will be completely prepared for their jobs when the facility opens. This is usually offered at no cost, and is partially the reason for the vast growth of industries in Albany. Turner Job Corps Center also serves the area, offering one of the most comprehensive and effective job training programs available.
Along with being a wonderful place to learn and to work, Albany GA is a great place to play. Recreational activities abound here, with two racetracks, U.S.19 Dragway and the Albany Motor Speedway, nationally acclaimed golf courses that are often hosts to tournaments, and The Parks at Chehaw, a 100-acre wild animal park. The new Flint RiverQuarium provides a one-of-a-kind adventure featuring a unique blue hole spring and more than 100 mysterious creatures. The RiverQuarium has quickly become the place to have fun and learn. The Flint RiverQuarium tells the fascinating story of the Flint River and the mysterious blue-hole springs that help create it. The 175,000 gallon, 22 foot deep, open-air RiverQuarium Blue Hole is filled with the fish, reptiles and plants found in the Flint River's ecosystem. The RiverQuarium also has an IWERKS Imagination Theater. Turtle Grove Riverfront Park is only steps away from the RiverQuarium featuring large ceramic turtles, swing, slides and a fantastic playground.
The Albany Symphony, southwest Georgia's only professional symphony, performs at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. The Ritz Cultural Center offers many youth programs to allow the children of Albany to explore the arts. Theatre Albany runs five major productions during its season as well as holding children's theater and summer youth workshops during off-season. The Albany Ballet Theater and the Albany Chorale are two more examples of the culture that flourishes here.
History is preserved in Albany through the Thronateeksa Heritage Center at Union Station, which houses the Museum of Albany and Southwest Georgia History along with a Science Discovery Center and a Planetarium. The Albany Museum of Art is boasts the largest collection of African art