Albany Neighbors Group Seeks to Accentuate the Positive

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In the chaos and confusion of our new normal, how can one refrain from allowing themselves to grow complacent and hopeless?

The members of the Albany Neighbors group (as a part of the ACT, Athens County Together initiative, and in collaboration with the Village of Albany and The PawPaw Festival) believe that the best thing to do when one feels overwhelmed with the many problems that plague 2020 is to try and break things down and tackle one task at a time. Be it planting flowers or picking up trash or installing outdoor musical equipment in the park for kids.

“I think a lot of times we, as a community, can feel burdened by weight and magnitude of the problems and the things that need to be addressed,” said Matt Wedel, an artist and member of the Albany Neighbors. “A lot of the projects that need to happen are massive, immense, like the structural things in society that need to change — and I think focusing on small projects gives people an outlet to deal with things, one thing at a time, and slowly make a big impact with these small decisions.”

The Albany Neighbors worked to get an outdoors xylophone installed in the Albany park and had planned a village-wide beautification day to celebrate the installation and spread the word about the group’s goal of community development. That plan was derailed by the COVID-19 crisis and the need to socially distance and abstain from group activities, but that doesn’t mean that the Albany Neighbors group has stopped working towards their goal of community development.

Currently the group meets every second Tuesday of the month via Zoom, and they are always looking for other members of the community to join in, even if just to voice their opinions.

“For me, as an artist and a community member, (the group allows me to) feel like I have a voice in helping the community grow,” said Wedel. “I think it is a manageable forum to get things done, especially for common citizens.”

Find more information about the Albany Neighbors group on their Facebook page, (or you can email them at and listen to Wedel’s conversation about the group with WOUB’s Emily Votaw, embedded above.