Rockmart Business Alliance (RBA) members are planning new ways to bring more people to the downtown area as the group continues its mission of helping the community prosper by supporting locally owned independent stores.

This can be achieved with the following RBA goals:

. Educate citizens about the benefits of patronizing and supporting independent, local businesses.

. Facilitate cooperative advertising, marketing, public relations and educational opportunities for business members.

. Build brand-name recognition using the RBA name and logo.

. Promote relationship building among and between local businesses and government to bring a stronger voice to the issues that affect these businesses.

. Encourage retention and growth of existing businesses and give support and/or assistance to new businesses seeking to locate in Rockmart.

. Actively promote positive growth and a sense of pride in the community.

As part of this plan, RBA has placed new signs near the Woman’s Clubhouse, the sports complex and other areas of town.

The signs encourage people to come to Rockmart to shop with local merchants, visit local historic sites, enjoy the scenic beauty and discover the variety of restaurants that can cater to most every taste.

“We want people to know that Rockmart is a great destination,” said Cathy Matthews, RBA member.

The group, during its June meeting, discussed improvement projects, including a stretch of the Silver Comet Trail near Rose Hill Cemetery.

“There is a lot of traffic along this stretch of the bike path,” said Sherman Ross, who advocates preserving the area’s scenic beauty. “We do not need to cut without thought of appearance,” he said. “This is a scenic portion of the trail and many people enjoy walking to the sports complex or downtown.”

Discussion included several other ideas: setting a clean-up day with the City of Rockmart and invite RBA and other volunteers to take part. More details on this plan will be announced at a later date.

The group also voted to order promotional material that emphasizes RBA’s mission and goals.

One of the projects mentioned during a previous meeting has proved popular with local merchants.

“Keep On Rolling,” a bike art event, has created excitement in the business community.

Each merchant was invited to decorate an old bicycle or tricycle to attract shoppers and advertise their business. It was described as “a great opportunity” to let out-of-town people know about local appreciation of art and bikes. It is also considered a way of supporting visitors who travel along the Silver Comet Trail.

Participants were encouraged to leave the bike on display through Homespun July 15-16.

Other scheduled events include: Back to School sales, August; Labor Day bike ride, August 4, Fall Window Contest (no date announced), Riverwalk Festival and Festival of Treats in September, Christmas Open House and Small Business Saturday in November and the annual Tour of Homes in December. This year, plans are to include Church Street Manor (former Lester home) in the tour.

Stacey Lovvorn, president, presented information about RBA working in partnership with the Polk County Chamber and other organizations to plan and support events to attract tourists to Polk County.