2017 was an explosively productive year for the city of Rockmart that saw new businesses, new recreation, and hard-working citizens that constantly lent aid to their home to the best of their ability. While there were ups and downs, kinship and local aid ensured the city made it through any troubles.
Here’s a review of some of Rockmart’s most shining moments- whether they are born out of joy or adversity:
Tourism, development, business
As early as February, the city seemed almost hard-wired on boosting tourism and community development. Friday, Feb. 10 marked the first meeting to get ready for the Tourism Product Development Community Resource Team. The Polk Chamber of Commerce gathered the Tourism Product Team for a stakeholder meeting that helped determine various goals or ideal for Polk that would increase tourism, the Development Authority of Polk County continued to hold monthly meetings, the Rethink Rockmart group was still fighting blighted property. While not the only reasons, the town has seen unprecedented population and business growth since.
Later in March, Rockmart native Zach Thomas announced he would be opening a Chick-fil-A in Rockmart, and the store has been bringing in unprecedented traffic since opening for business on Sept. 14. It wouldn’t be long after that Martin’s would begin selling breakfast in Rockmart on Sept. 28 even further increasing local’s eating options and bringing in more visitors. Plenty of other locally owned, non-chain businesses opened up including Now and Then antiques, Rockmart Discount Mall, Treasured Thriftique Antique Mall, and Fast Trac Car Wash, among others.
Entertainment and fun
The annual Homespun Festival, Rockmart’s premier opportunity to buy and sell crafts, was a big hit in 2017 with sold-out vendor spaces and hundreds of attendees. The weekend-long event took place on June 21 through June 22 and saw live music, the Kiwanis car show, and a visit from the Shriners before the event was closed with the traditional fireworks.
The city’s Riverwalk Festival ushered citizens to Seaborne Jones Park on Oct. 17 where a slew of crafts, games, food, and contests were up for grabs. The day-long festival featured various musicians including Dalton Dover and Isaac Streetman, and local vendors were selling homemade goods all day long.
Anyone who finds themselves inside Rockmart will know the downtown theatre always has something to watch, and Rockmart’s Thespians made sure anyone passing through might be interested in staying for a show. March 26 marked opening night for Rockmart High’s production of ‘Sweeney Todd,’ and several other shows were performed during the year including ‘A View from a Bridge,’ ‘The Little Prince,’ and ‘Seussical,’ among others.
The town’s Christmas parade made a return on Dec.1 with the theme “The Sounds of Christmas.” Dozens of citizens lined the streets as float after float made its way through the city’s downtown area. Businesses were open during the period, and the best floats received cash prizes.
Overcoming adversity, and good will
Like any city, Rockmart has troubles. Citizens aren’t immune to disease, hardship, or death, but with solid teamwork and goodwill, the town manages to come out on top.
On Nov. 8 the late detective Kristen Hearne, killed on duty, received endless support from locals who donated to her son’s, Isaac, trust fund. While not only Rockmart entities contributed, the city no doubt helped raise the over $52,000 donated to the Hearne family.
Aug. 20 saw the Robbie Podskoc White- the late co-founder of Georgia Cancer Support benefit concert raise over $5,000 for GCS. Bands Shelter, Party of 5ive, Pea Valley Flyers, and Whiskey Dixie played for a massive crowd of donators at Rockmart’s downtown theatre, and the concert is sure to happen again in 201
Victory Baptist Church started the summer off with a car show that raised over $1,400 for the Stockings of Love Ministry that seeks to aid needy family year-round with clothing, food, and general assistance. Over 73 lavish cars and large supplies of concessions drew locals to the event.
When nearly 9 inches of snow hit Polk and dozens were left without power, the city’s officials handled the situation cleanly and ensured citizens were safe. Once the snow cleared and roads melted, the city left nearly unscathed with no fatalities.