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The Central Albany Revitalization Area (CARA) took several months off last year to review how potential projects in the urban renewal district are funded. This fall, the district announced a slate of new programs emphasizes creating new jobs while focused on increasing assessed value, eliminating blight, and restoring Albany's historic resources.

"The policy-makers went back to the basics of the CARA plan to see how our funding could best leverage private dollars and create the most change in our community. They listened closely and incorporated comments and suggestions they heard from members of the public," said Economic Development and Urban Renewal Director Kate Porsche.

The new programs concentrate incentives in the areas that need it most, such as the East Salem Avenue neighborhood area, the East Waterfront, downtown, and the Hackleman Historic District. "The goal is to make strategic investments that leverage the most private dollars and create momentum for change in an area," Porsche said. "These strategic investments make for a more livable community with a stronger economy, which is good for our entire community."

The first project approved through the new programs was a Focus Area Loan to fund Novak's renovation of the historic Broder's Meat Market building and to relocate this popular Albany restaurant to the downtown area.

Also, the Woodland Square workforce housing project on East Salem Avenue is moving ahead after receiving state tax credit financing. The project, a public private partnership between CARA and Innovative Housing, Inc. (IHI), will see the construction of 54 housing units on the former blighted mobile home park on East Salem Avenue at Periwinkle Creek.