City Commissioner Jamie Doss (left) looks over potential designs for gateway signage to downtown Rome while DDA Design Committee Chair Megan Watters talks about potential locations for the new signage.

The Rome Downtown Development Authority has been seeking to find new ways to introduce visitors to the downtown Rome area for months but still has not locked in on a design and specific locations for new welcome signs.

Design committee Chair Megan Watters presented the DDA board with a series of proposals from an Atlanta consultant on Thursday but said, “I don’t think any of them are exactly what we were thinking.”

Not wanting to replicate a design that was already in place, the Sky Design team created a series of gateway signage options that were probably a little more contemporary than the downtown design team is looking for, Watters said.

Potential locations for the signs include the intersection of Riverside Parkway and Turner McCall Boulevard and somewhere along Second Avenue in the area of Barron Stadium.

DDA Chairman Bob Blumberg said he thought the first signage should go at the intersection of Turner McCall and Broad Street.

While location is a priority, Watters said, logistical issues related to the buildings and existing utility infrastructure on all four corners of the intersection complicate development of appropriate signage at that location.

Rome Commissioner Jamie Doss asked Watters about a timeline for getting something in place.

“As soon as we get a design that we like,” Watters said things will start moving forward

Parking Services Manager Becky Smyth said acquisition of right of way could delay the project if the city needed to acquire property outright, or obtain easements.

Changes to first Saturday programsPromotions committee Chair Connie Sams suggested that the Spirit of the Sun festival on the first Saturday in June might be better served by removing the event from the outright sponsorship of the DDA.

Many of the downtown businesses did not see as much of a benefit from the event as they had expected, Blumberg said.

That conversation evolved into a discussion relative to the entire Downtown Saturday series, which was formerly known as the First Friday series.

Consumers and business owners alike would benefit by having something that was in fundamentally the same location each month, Blumberg said. He pointed to the success of having the concerts on Broad Street, while at the same time agreeing that some of the downtown merchants felt certain blocks benefited more than others.

The idea this year was to move the downtown Saturday programs around so events would be on Broad Street twice then once at the following locations each — the Town Green, Bridgepoint Plaza and in the new River District across the Oostanaula River.

The DDA board indicated that it would quiz downtown merchants, and shoppers as well, to see what they would prefer in the future.

The DDA also approved a $1,000 facade grant for Tim and Molly Vicchrilli at their Pro Performance building at 100 Broad Street. Much of the work is being done to the back of that building which is very visible from East First Avenue.

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