Rome city officials: Graduation parking unchanged

Assistant Rome City Manager Patrick Eidson told Community Development Services committee members Tuesday, "We haven't changed anything (related to graduation parking) as opposed to what we've done for years."

While the city plans to begin a slow roll of its new parking enforcement plan downtown next week, there will be no changes to downtown parking rules for graduation ceremonies at the Forum River Center on May 25.

Parking will be free in both the Fourth Avenue and Sixth Avenue parking decks. There will be a $5 fee at the Third Avenue deck which will be staffed with people collecting the fee so guests won't have to deal with kiosks.

"We haven't changed anything as opposed to what we've done in the past," Assistant City Manager Patrick Eidson told members of the city Community Development Services committee.

There will be one change — but only as it applies to graduation attendees who choose to park on Broad Street. Beginning next week, the hours of enforcement of the two-hour daily limit on Broad Street parking will be extended from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Floyd County Schools have inquired with Parking Services Manager Becky Smyth about leasing the deck for all of the county school graduation exercises, one on Friday night and the other three on Saturday.

The fee for leasing the deck is $300 per day, so if the school system decides to offer free parking for all four ceremonies it would cost $600.

Smyth said the schools have always been offered the opportunity to lease the deck in the past but have never taken advantage of the offer.

City officials are excited about the use of License Plate Reader technology for enforcement purposes downtown, Eidson said. It will provide hard data about everything from employees who continue to occupy prime spaces to the number of out-of-town visitors who shop and dine downtown while they are in Rome.

The committee also discussed the presale of one of the four new homes being built on Pollock Street.

"We have tremendous interest in the other three," Community Development Director Bekki Fox added. She said the city plans to start construction on three more single-family homes on Peachtree Street later this year.

Fox said the draft budget for 2019 Community Development Block Grant funds includes $186,400 for sidewalk improvements, primarily along the Maple Avenue corridor and $155,000 for housing rehabilitation.

Emma Wells, the Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful coordinator, said a big cleanup program is scheduled for Saturday along the Etowah River behind Home Depot, as well as the area on the back side of the shopping center at the base of the Norfolk Southern railroad track from the river to Turner McCall Boulevard.

Also on May 24, Wells will partner with the Keep Bartow Beautiful office and Georgia Power volunteers for a cleanup of the Etowah River by canoe and kayak in the area of Neel's Landing off U.S. 411 at Macedonia Road.