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What is CARA?

The Albany City Council established the Central Albany Revitalization Area (CARA) in the summer of 2001 following a series of public forums held in the fall and winter of 2000-2001. CARA contains 919 acres or 9.7 percent of the total acreage of Albany. It includes the traditional city core area, known as Central Albany, with surrounding neighborhoods and areas of mixed commercial and industrial uses to the south and east.

Key Objectives:

  • Attract new private investment to the area.
  • Retain and enhance the value of existing private investment and public investment in the area.

Additional Objectives:

  • Provide a safe and convenient transportation network that encourages pedestrian and bicycle access to and within the town center.
  • Preserve the Historic Districts, historic resources and existing housing in the area.
  • Create a readily identifiable core that is unique and vibrant with a mixture of entertainment, housing, specialty shops, offices, and other commercial uses.
  • Increase residential density in the area.
  • Encourage the development of new forms of housing and home ownership.
  • Enhance and protect the community and environmental values of waterway corridors in the area.
  • Provide an enriching environment and livable neighborhoods.

Carrying out the CARA plan will require tax increment revenue. Tax increment financing may affect the property tax revenues and bond tax rates of other taxing bodies, but the effort is expected to be good for Albany.



Nathan Reid
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Revitalizing downtown, preparing for future.

CARA Report & Plans

Public Meeting Minutes


Organizational Structure

The City Council serves as the Albany Revitalization Agency. They also serve, along with an appointed counterpart member on the CARA Advisory Board. Advisory Board members generally live or own property or businesses in the Central Albany area.

Increasing economic vitality, encouraging the use of vacant and underused land and rehabilitating structures will increase property values both in CARA and the City of Albany. Spending tax increment funds is expected to produce new property values, with total value growth in the renewal area over the duration of the plan expected to be $230 million. When the project is completed, the values will be returned to the tax rolls, and the various taxing bodies that share values in Albany will receive an increase in tax collections.

historic preservation
dollar ratio
private investment
appraised value

CARA Programs

 icon architect

Architectural Assistance Grant

icon small grants


icon storefront

Storefront Revitalization Grant

icon focus area

Loan Program for Focus Area

icon historic

Historic Homebuyer Loan Program

Annual Program Allocation

 $5,000  $25,000  $50,000  $300,000  $80,000


 Ad-hoc  Twice per year; competitive;
February and September.
 Three times per year; competitive; March, July, and November.   Three times per year; competitive; March, July, and November.  Ad-hoc

Geographic Focus

 Anywhere in the CARA boundary Anywhere in the CARA boundary  HD, CB, LE, and MS Zoning   Three focus areas:
Downtown, East waterfront, East Salem Avenue neighborhood.
Hackleman Historic District 

CARA Funding Amount

Equivalent of first consultation visit $1,250 – $5,000   $2,500 – $10,000  Minimum of $15,000; up to 20% of the project.  $8,000 – $20,000

Project Cost

n/a   $2,500 – $10,000   $5,000 – $20,000  Minimum of $75,000  Minimum of $40,000

Private Match Requirement

n/a 50% of project 50% of project   80% of project  80% of project
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  • CARA can only fund work begun after funding approval by the ARA (any work complete prior to this approval is ineligible for reimbursement.)
  • CARA Programs may not be combined; however applicants may apply for different funding for additional projects, but additional requests may be given lower priority than new projects. 
  • If CARA’s total assistance to the project is greater than $750,000, prevailing wage for the project may apply.  
  • Proposed improvements must be approved by the Albany Revitalization Area Agency (ARA) and will be subject to the CARA Design Guidelines.  Projects may require approval by the City of Albany Landmarks Advisory Commission or other entities.  
  • All programs, except architectural assistance, small grants, and storefront revitalization, would be subject to the new 10% holdback policy.
  • Land-use, Landmarks Advisory Commission approval must be complete prior to first draw.
  • Applicants should consult with a tax professional to fully understand the tax consequences of agency grants or loans.  
  • Use of local contractors and products is encouraged!
  • All members of the LLC and their spouses must sign as personal guarantors.