DDA green-lights new beautification plan

February 15, 2019

An idea from Columbus, Indiana, appears to be making its way to downtown Rome in the way of planters and downtown beautification.

Rome’s Downtown Development Authority on Thursday approved a beautification project presented by Joel Snider of the Community Foundation for Greater Rome.

The plan includes installation of planters and flowers at major intersections downtown.

Snider said the foundation got a gift from an individual who knew about the project in Columbus — which is very similar to Rome in size.

“We have been working since last June to develop a plan to take private money to initiate something that would benefit the community and then be gifted to the city,” Snider said.

He suggested that the pilot location be at Second Avenue and Broad Street. The project would be rolled out in three phases. The pilot location would include what amounts to self-watering planters.

“We would want to raise money to expand to the next five intersections working back up Broad Street,” Snider said.

The pilot intersection would cost approximately $19,400. Even prior to asking for money, Snider said $11,000 has already been pledged to the project.

Ed Watters explained the project would include a large planter with two smaller planters on either side. The planters would be located in a manner so as not to impede pedestrian traffic or create sight problems for motorists either.

“It would certainly add to the curb appeal of downtown,” Watters said.

The first phase of changes to the city’s parking ordinance, including implementing license plate reader technology and walk up kiosks in the Third Avenue and Sixth Avenue parking decks, as well as the lot on First Street behind Mellow Mushroom and Harvest Moon restaurants, will be rolled out in March.

DDA Parking Services Director Becky Smyth said when that happens, the hours of parking enforcement will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The first hour of parking is still free, but Smyth said people will have to enter their license plates in the kiosks even if they expect to stay less than an hour.

Smartphone apps would enable people to put money on the kiosks remotely if visitors need to stay parked longer. The DDA is in the process of producing a number of educational videos which will be released via social media channels in the near future.

As part of the meeting, the DDA approved a new downtown logo. The new logo includes an image of the Clocktower, Robert Redden Footbridge and Broad Street building skyline with lettering that reads Historic Downtown Rome, Georgia.

“We feel like, finally, this is a good representation of what downtown Rome looks like in a more traditional sense, yet in a more modern way,” said Megan Watters, chairman of the DDA Design committee.

Approval of the logo was the last hurdle to getting a new downtown website online, and that should take place soon now that the logo, which will formally be rolled out next week, has been approved, DDA Director Amanda Carter said.