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DDA stakeholders meeting Thursday

Wednesday, October 18, 2023–8:52 a.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

Aundi Lesley

Downtown Rome stakeholders will have an opportunity to share feedback and get updates during a meeting at Rome City Hall next week.

The meeting will be on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the second-floor commission meeting room, according to Rome Downtown Development Authority Director Aundi Lesley.

“We do this every year, but because of Covid, we have been just doing online surveys,” she said. “So, this will be the first year since the pandemic that we have had an in-person session. We use the feedback every year to put our work plan together, both short-term and long-term.”

The meeting is open to the public but is geared toward the downtown stakeholders.

“Meaning they own a business, they own a property or they live downtown,” Lesley said. “A lot of them really wear all those hats, so we really want to hear from them since they have a vested interest in downtown—things they’d like to see programming-wise, maybe some fun public art, or maybe some new initiatives from the DDA. This is an opportunity to come and give their feedback and be part of shaping the work plan for the next few years.”

There will also be a number of updates and announcements during the meeting.

Lesley plans to present a “Downtown by the Numbers” update, which is a summary of the impact of the Rome Downtown Development Authority from 2018-2022.

Some of those numbers include 88 new or expanded businesses, 272 net jobs created, and $89.4 million in public-private investment. There have been 220 building improvements or rehabs during the four-year period, along with 46 new housing units, 24 million visits, and 470 events. $171,000 in grants have been awarded by the DDA.

Currently, 5,800 employees work downtown. There are 527 residents, 229 residential units, 408 properties, 340 businesses, 55 retailers, 32 food services businesses, 11 salons, and three hotels.