Monday, May 29, 2023–11:31 a.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
Several projects are now in the works as part of the revitalization of the Maple Avenue corridor in East Rome.
It was recently announced that Rome would be getting money from the State of Georgia for the revamping of Banty Jones Park. The city had asked for $1.9 million but was awarded $2.2 million, according to Rome Community Development Director Bekki Fox.
“Which is good, because it was going to be a tight budget,” she said. “We are absolutely thrilled that we have gotten those funds and it’s moving forward. It’s still in the design phase. They are doing the spatial work now, making sure that everything measures out and all the components can be put into the spot we have. Once we hash that out, we will go and start the construction drawings.”
They hope to put the project out to bid by this August or September and then break ground by the end of this year. They are eyeing a completion date in the spring of 2024. The concept plan includes open-air pavilions, a stage with seating for small performances, a grilling and picnic area, playgrounds, a game area for horseshoes and corn hole, a workout area with fitness equipment, swing benches, a boardwalk, and even an area for food trucks. Other funding sources include several years of Community Development Block Grant funds, as well as city funds through the America Rescue Plan Act and Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant funds through the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority.
The city is also designating CDBG funds for much-needed renovations at the Floyd Training Center. The building at Maple Avenue and East 12th Street was built in the 1950s and is currently owned by the City of Rome. The Floyd Training Center serves adults with mental and physical disabilities. Proposed improvements include replacing the windows, which have been bricked over since the 1970s. The interior of the building will be re-painted and interior doors will be replaced. Upgrading the HVAC and a new floor are also in the plans. According to Fox, some funds will have to be moved around to cover the entire cost of the project.
“The lowest was $185,000 over what we had an estimated budget for,” Fox said. “The good news is, we actually have some money that we can move around in order to cover that deficit.”
Another project that is in the works is an early learning center. Sandra Hudson with the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority has approached Fox, asking that the city transfer a parcel of property on Maple Avenue, just south of the Floyd Training Center to the housing authority.
“They are trying to assemble properties for either their new early learning school or, if that doesn’t pan out, she wanted the property for affordable housing.”
The Rome Community Redevelopment Committee voted to back the transfer during a recent meeting. It now goes to the full Rome City Commission for approval.