Wednesday, July 26, 2023–4:47 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
A finalized plan for the North Rome Redevelopment Area could be ready for a vote in the next month.
The City of Rome has been working with its consultant, the KB Group, for several months on the plan, which has evolved during that time. Initially, a Tax Allocation District was envisioned for an area from CVS on Turner McCall, northward to North Avenue, and east to Gibbons Street. However, with 162 parcels, it was determined to be too large and complex, making it much more difficult for city staff to keep track of. So, it was decided it would be less complicated to have a large redevelopment area that would include smaller TAD areas.
Rome City Manager Sammy Rich told the Rome Redevelopment Committee on Wednesday that work continues to tweak the redevelopment plan and look at what makes sense to be that initial TAD.
“The good news is, there are about three or four solid projects that have expressed interest,” he said.
With the Varsity, the Home2 Suites by Hilton, and a townhome development at the former Jennings Funeral home site all set to get underway, there are high hopes regarding the revitalization of North Broad Street, possibly even becoming an extension of Broad Street downtown. TAD funding may be a way to move the needle to get more private investment going.
“As we have experienced in our other redevelopment areas, specifically those with TADs, oftentimes it’s the piece of the puzzle that is going to move the needle, said Sammy Rich during Wednesday’s Rome Redevelopment Committee meeting. “In our case, we are trying to attract more private investment. As you look at the North Broad corridor, it’s very ripe for redevelopment and there are some great opportunities.”
According to Rich, to have a TAD, you must first have a redevelopment area.
“As a community, we are very conservative with our Tax Allocation Districts,” he said. “Some communities will go out and borrow money to give to the developer on the front end. We just don’t do that. We are much more conservative. The developer has to invest, they have to pay their property taxes, and we remit back to them whatever the agreed upon period of time is – so it could be 10, 12, to 15 years.”
Rome Finance Director Toni Rhinehart told the committee that you want to be very strategic in the area that you set as a TAD and that’s what this plan is intended to do. Meanwhile, Jim Bojo, who chairs the redevelopment committee, believes establishing a redevelopment area and TAD districts have the potential to change North Rome.
“That corridor needs serious attention, everybody knows that,” he said. “This will bring attention to that North Broad corridor.
When asked when he expects the plan to be completed, Rich said “The sooner the better.” He hopes there will be something ready to go to the Rome City Commission for a vote in the next 30 days.