City of Albany seeks to revive rails-to-trails project by partnering with state DOT

Mar. 7—ALBANY — The city of Albany is hoping that a partnership with the state of Georgia can get a 13.6-mile Albany-to-Sasser trail project back on track.

During a Tuesday work session, staff presented a proposed project framework agreement to the Albany City Commission that would guide the process for constructing the trail along the former rail bed, which has been in limbo for years.

Currently the city is the defendant in a $7 million lawsuit filed by South Georgia Rails to Trails claiming breach of contract for failing to complete the project in a timely manner.

The last previous development in the saga was the city's application for a federal grant, which was not approved. SGRT agreed to put the lawsuit on hold while the city tried to secure funding with which to complete the project.

Asked by Commissioner Jon Howard how the contract for planning services with the Georgia Department of Transportation could impact the lawsuit, City Attorney Nathan Davis said he did not know.

"We're still talking, trying to reconcile this," he said. "It hasn't worked out. GDOT is the 800-pound gorilla, and this is how you do a project like this."

The lawsuit is "back alive" with the failure to secure the federal money, he said.

The commission could vote on accepting the agreement at its work meeting later this month,.