DeSoto Theatre

Renovation at the DeSoto Theatre got a little help with the approval of a $2,500 Business Improvement District grant. (File / Rome News-Tribune)

Renovation work at the DeSoto Theatre just got another boost.

The Rome Downtown Development Authority approved a $2,500 Business Improvement District grant Thursday.

Executive Director Ann Arnold said the money will be part of a match for a $20,000 tourism grant from the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

“We have to be a partner in the project, not just a pass-through agency for the funding,” Arnold said.

The Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation also will put in $13,000 in cash and in-kind services as part of that match.

Theatre officials should know by sometime next month if the grant application has been approved, Arnold said.

The DDA board also discussed a bus tour they’re hosting today for Georgia Department of Community Affairs representatives.

“We’re going to show them what good stewards of their money we have been,” Arnold said.

The DCA provided grant money or loans to facilitate all of the projects the group will tour.

Today’s schedule includes visits to the South Rome community and Etowah Terrace followed by a luncheon at the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham.

City and community leaders will illustrate improvements made over the last decade in South Rome then head out to the new Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center off Ga. 140 northeast of Rome.

In other business, the DDA will host a visioning session Sept. 11 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 606 Turner McCall Blvd.

Property owners and business owners along the Fifth Avenue and West Third Street corridor are invited to attend and offer input into their vision for the corridor. The area is being looked at for major improvements in the future with assistance from the DCA.

Arnold also told the board that staffers will be distributing postcard reminders that bicycles and skateboards are not permitted on the sidewalks in the downtown business district.

“There have been accidents and near misses,” Arnold said.

It will be up to city police to enforce the ordinance, which has been on the books for many years and carries a potential fine of $81 for violators.