Wednesday, Mar. 1, 2023–7:42 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
Much of the first meeting of the re-imagined Rome Community Redevelopment Committee meeting on Wednesday focused on parks and recreational activities. The committee is the result of a merger of the redevelopment and community development committees.
Terri Mayes, executive director of the North Broad Youth Center, asked the committee to allow money included in the 2017 special purpose, local option sales tax for a playground and/or recreation facilities adjacent to the youth center, which at that time was located in the former Jennings Funeral Home on North Broad Street, to be used for a playground at the youth center’s new location, just up the street.
The youth center shut down during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and was facing being closed down again after mold was found under the building and two air conditioning units went out.
Instead of closing down, the board decided would move the youth center to the church at 1601 North Broad, across from Dollar General. The church then purchased properties next door at 1701 and 1702 North Broad for a possible future expansion.
“With the church having to house North Broad Youth Center, the perfect location for the park would be 1702, right next door,” Mayes said. “We are willing to donate a portion of the property to the city, so the park can remain on North Broad Street. It’ll just go down a couple of blocks.”
Mayes acknowledged there has been some interest in shifting the funding to Eagle Park.
“I’m not anti-Eagle Park,” Mayes said. “We don’t want to service adults. Our goal is to serve children because these children can’t go to Eagle Park when it’s occupied. We want a facility that can serve physically-challenged children and elementary school children.”
According to Rome City Manager Sammy Rich, there will have to be conversations with the city attorney to see if there would be any issues with using the funds for the park at its new location.
“From my perspective, it seems like a common sense approach,” Rich said. “We’re talking about the same scope of the project, the same stretch of road, and nothing really changes, except you are a half-mile up the street. I don’t feel like there is going to be a large leap for us to make this decision.”
The committee agreed to move forward with the idea.
A couple of disc golf courses planned
The Community Redevelopment Committee also heard that there is interest in locating a disc golf course at the GE Trails in West Rome and also at the Bob Moore Bridge downtown.
Parker Clavijo has laid out an elaborate plan for a course at the former GE site near West Central Elementary, according to Rome City Manager Sammy Rich.
“We’ve talked a lot about GE over the years, and the only drawings that we have had of this area have been for different concepts for recreation,” he said. “This disc golf course would be such that it would have to work together with our trail system so that you wouldn’t have a conflict between the two.”
Disc golf, also known as frisbee golf, uses flying discs that are thrown at targets. The rules are similar to traditional golf and there is not a lot of infrastructure involved in setting up a course.
It’s not close to downtown, but it’s a great piece of property,” said committee member Jamie Doss. “I think we need to utilize it.”
Meanwhile, another group has pitched an idea for disc golf near the banks of the Etowah River, near the Kingfisher trailhead. There are two parcels-ten acres total-that have been cleared near the Bob Moore Bridge. The land is city-owned.
“Personally, I don’t have an issue with either proposal,” Rich added. “I think it’s just another recreational amenity for our community.”
Public works and Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation would not be responsible for the upkeep of the courses, except for clearing undergrowth, but that would also benefit the city from a public safety perspective.
The committee voted to proceed with the proposals.