Building Department reports are indicating that 2019 has been a banner year for the construction of new single family homes in Rome and Floyd County.
Through the end of August, the department has issued 186 permits for new single family homes. That's up from 120 permits issued through the month of August a year ago. Many of the city permits, 62 thus far this year, have been in the Walton Creek subdivision between Wilkerson Road and Burnett Ferry Road in West Rome.
Rome Building Department Director Howard Gibson and Community Development Director Bekki Fox indicated five more dilapidated structures will be de molished before the end of the month.
In his last meeting before joining the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority, Gibson told Community Development committee members Tuesday his department had approved the demolition of 60 structures so far this year because of code enforcement issues.
The next five to come down will be located at 13 N. McLin St., 110 Cherokee St., 28 Will ingham St,, 110 Ross St. and 212 E. 14th St.
City crews will do the demolition work and be reimbursed by the Community Development office from funds that are part of a Community Development block grant.
"That will be cheaper and faster than us bidding that out to a private contractor," Fox said. "We expected Monday September 16 to get the final approval from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to move forward."
Fox also said four of the new homes at Pollock Street and South Broad Street, built through a partnership with the South Rome Redevelopment Corp., have buyers who were qualified and one has already been sold.
Funds from those sales will be used to build three more new homes on Peachtree Street.
Downtown Rome Development Director Amanda Carter showed off a new DDA website, www.downtownromega.us, which committee Chairperson Wendy Davis described as "spectacular."
Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful Program Director Emma Wells also unveiled a new website, www.keepromefloydbeautiful.org which she called, "much more user friendly."
A community clean up day along Armuchee Connector will be held for Floyd County employees this Friday. A similar event for city employees is scheduled for Oct. 18 at a location to be determined.
Plans for a scrap tire recycling event are also in the works with a tentative date of Oct. 19. Wells said she is still awaiting the release of grant funds to pay for the disposal of the tires before locking down the date.
With less than a month to go before the Coosa Valley Fair, discount armbands for unlimited rides are now on sale online.
The 71st annual event – sponsored by the Exchange Club of Rome – is set for Oct. 1 through 5 at the fairgrounds on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Michael Elliott, president of the nonprofit CVF Association, said the armbands are on sale at $20 through Sept. 30 on the CoosaValleyFair.com website.
"Most of it will be the same," Elliott said Tuesday about the fair offerings. "Wade Shows Inc. will be doing the midway; we'll have the cattle shows, the fine art and arts and crafts displays ... the cheerleaders and beauty contests."
But three new entertainment performances have been added this year. Chainsaw artist Jeremy Smith, magician Michael Frisbee and Los Moralitos Circus have shows scheduled several times each day.
"We only do this for five days so we try to get as much in as we can," Elliott said.
Once the fair opens, armbands will be available only on site. They'll run $22 on opening day, $25 during the week and $30 on Saturday, Oct. 5. Ride tickets also will be available for purchase individually, at $5 for four, $25 for 25 and $50 for 55.
Elliott said the midway is particularly popular with students and young adults but, "we have so much variety there's something for everyone." Older people like browsing the fine arts, photography, homemaking and crafts competitions. Others come for the livestock shows and the fair food.
"I enjoy the Fall Flower Show," he added. "We also give out awards for the best horticultural exhibits. And I enjoy the art people bring to exhibit. We have so many talented people in this community."
There's also the Village Building, where fair-goers can shop for special deals at booths set up by area retailers.
Exchangeites will be working throughout the month to finalize plans and ready the fairgrounds. A guidebook and more information about the competitions is available on the Coosa Valley Fair website.
Goats are being used to clear overgrowth in order to provide a view of the river to the picnic areas behind State Mutual Stadium.
A crew of 10 Kiko goats was cut loose near one of the picnic areas spaced out on the trail behind the ballpark Tuesday. Rome Public Works Director Chris Jenkins hopes they will have a large area cleared to provide views of the river, perhaps even access to the riverbank for fishermen.
Ashley Lindsay of Glitzy Goats said the goats will clear any of the aggressive vines, briars and privet.
"They don't eat grass and things like that. They'll clear it out real well. All of this camouflage and treescape you see will be gone."
Lindsay said they will eat the sweeter greenery first.
"Privet is sweet and honeysuckle is sweet so they kind of like eat the ice cream first so to speak," Lindsay said. "Darker ivy, like English Ivy is a little more bitter for them."
"It'll probably be five to seven days for them to clear the area. It's not an exact science," Lindsay said. "They do know their job and they do work."
The herd of 10 goats — led by mama Aretha — are protected between the trail and river by an electrified fence.
The fence is there just in case a predator, like a coyote, decides to show up along the trail.
"The fence is also there to keep the goats on task. They'll eat all of this, whether they like it or not because they're hungry," said Lindsay.
Public Works Director Chris Jenkins explained that he's hoping to create an even more attractive picnic area along one of the push-outs on the trail behind the stadium.
"This is a natural way of clearing back some of the vegetation," Jenkins said. If the experiment works, he said the goats may be used to clear out several areas along the river all the way back to the Town Green downtown.
He said the kudzu covered landscape along the Kingfisher Trail is another area that might be a perfect spot for the goat crew to help clean out.
"We'll constantly keep moving and testing locations. If we run into any problems we'll make some adjustments," he said.
Glitzy Goats is getting $8 per day per goats for the work.
"They get to eat and they sure seem to enjoy it," Jenkins said.
Rome City Schools met for their monthly meeting Tuesday night where they recognized a Rome Middle School student for stepping in between a bully and another student during an attack on a school bus.
Board Member Elaina Beeman commended seventh grade student Keviyon Lamons for doing something when others laughed or did nothing at all. Lamons stopped another student who was punching his friend.
The school board presented Lamons with a certificate for his act of kindness. On Monday night, the Rome City Commissioner recognized Lamons for his bravery.
"This shows a lot about Rome; it shows that we are a caring community," Commissioner Milton Slack said during Monday's commission meeting. "This young man took care of one of his fellow classmates and we want to thank him for that. So, the City of Rome wants to present you with the Citizenship Award which is one of the highest honors we can give to a private citizen."
Other items to come from Tuesday night's school board meeting was an update on Anna K. Davie Elementary given by Principal Felisha Jackson.
The goal of the 514 student school is to increase achievement in all content areas, Jackson said. The school will continue partnering with the community through programs like their fall festival and varsity night.
The board approved the reception of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Award which is a $350,000 award for after school care programs at Main, Elm Street, Anna K. Davie and West End Elementary. The extra programs benefit 180 RCS students.
Superintendent Lou Byars told the board during caucus he will be looking into a third type of alternative school other than the transitional academy and Phoenix Learning Center.
He told them the system is looking into an evening program where students can take classes to catch up if needed.
The board also set the date for their first planning retreat of the school year which will coincide with their board training Dec. 4-6 in Atlanta. The board voted on its training plan which includes the winter session and another later in the spring.
Peter Lynn, a kindergartner at St. Mary's Catholic School