Sunday, Apr. 16, 2023–5:10 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
Rotary Plaza has been proposed as Rome’s first placemaking project.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Rome was one of three communities to be accepted into the Georgia Placemaking Collaborative.
The collaborative is a program under the Georgia Municipal Association. Its partners, including the Georgia Cities Foundation, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the Carl Vincent Institute of Government, come together to do an in-depth program and strategic plan for placemaking in communities.
In March a delegation from Rome traveled to Columbus to learn more about placemaking. They had to come up with a prepared list of ten public spaces in mind. They looked at whether or not the space was visible and currently utilized or if it was just a pass-through.
According to Rome Downtown Development Director Aundi Lesley, as they started whittling down the list, they landed on Rotary Plaza.
“It’s a great space, and it’s a fairly large space that is only ever utilized for about four or five hours during the entire year,” she said. “Otherwise, it really is just a pass-through. So we thought this really could be such a cool space that is utilized.”
Lesley added that they would need the blessing of the Rome Rotary Club before making any changes to the plaza, which is located behind the Forum River Center.
“We think we can activate it and make it a place where people will want to be while being reverent and still honoring and acknowledging that it is a veteran’s memorial,” she said. “Hopefully, with their blessing, we will be able to do some things that will help make it a little more of a destination.”
Kelley Parker, assistant to the Rome city manager, told the Downtown Development Authority Thursday that for this first project, the intention is to use the LQC (lighter, quicker, and cheaper) approach. Some possible ideas include new, attractive lighting, seating, and cleaning. Maybe even a place where people can go and have their lunch.