The following article originally appeared in the Saturday, Jan. 1, 2000, edition of the Albany Democrat-Herald.
Neighborhoods built in Albany in the next century will look somewhat different from what they do now, said Community Development Director Helen Burns Sharp.
Sharp polled a number of staff members to find out what they all thought about how the city would develop over the next few years.
Neighborhoods will contain houses as well as shopping areas to provide for basic needs, such as grocery stores.
The stores, under new urban thinking, should be close enough to homes so that a child can walk or bike to the store and be home before his ice cream melts or the orange juice gets warm.
To accommodate aging baby boomers who want to cut down on yard maintenance, more townhouses and condominiums will be built.
There will be fewer manufactured home parks and several new single-family homes will be built on remaining vacant land in the core areas, such as along the canal behind the former Safeway store (NOTE: which is STILL the former Safeway store 17 years later), at Pacific Boulevard and Calapooia Street. The new homes would face the canal.
In response to a growing population and a demand for larger homes with fewer household members, there will be a need for more open spaces.
Neighborhood streets will contain bike lanes, and bike paths will be built throughout the city. The increase will be in response to a demand for more recreational opportunities and because people want to enjoy natural settings.
Bicyclists and walkers alike will be able to spend time on an esplanade, which Sharp hopes will be built along the Albany Santiam Canal. Eventually, she anticipates that other walkways and bikeways will be constructed along the Eighth Avenue Canal to Thurston Street and will connect to pathways already in place along the Willamette River.
In downtown, the second floors of many buildings will be renovated to create living spaces. More restaurants and entertainment centers will open.
"It won't be out of the question for there to be a new movie theater downtown," Sharp said.
Janet Steele, Albany Chamber of Commerce executive director, said more businesses might open in the area of Linn-Benton Community College and in North Albany, in the Hickory Street neighborhood.