One of the things that folks in Rome frequently cite when touting the community is its quality of life. That’s not always something that is easy to measure because it is often different from person to person
I’m thinking the key word there is “life.”
For many people, life can be illustrated by the abundance of things to do when you’re not busy at work — earning a living.
Rome certainly has a wealth of opportunities in spite of the naysayers who constantly chirp that there is nothing to do in Rome. However, the community may be on the verge of losing one of it’s most interesting quality of life amenities.
The Museum of Flight at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport has been without a lease since April of this year. Executive Director Christine Lewis has confirmed that several other airports in Georgia are interested in hosting the museum including airports in Paulding County, Gwinnett County and Dalton.. She also said that facilities in both Kentucky and North Carolina have shown some interest in the museum. “We’ve grown exponentially,” Lewis said. She also lamented the fact that the airport is seeking to increase their rent up to $1,700 a month. It had been $623 a month, then went to $923 and Lewis said that the museum just can’t afford to have that almost doubled.
For people interested in native American culture, Chieftains is a great place to start. The Rome Area History Museum is stepping up its programming and the Martha Berry Museum at Oak Hill is always an inspiration, generally featuring long term exhibits that range from wildlife photography to period textiles.
Turning to the arts, Rome has the South’s oldest symphony orchestra. The musicians in our orchestra hail from all over the region and come together in Rome a half dozen or so times a year to make beautiful music. The Star Wars themed kickoff to the current season was incredible, according to folks I’ve spoken with.
The Rome Little Theatre is another group which I am convinced is under-appreciated. Their performances are mesmerizing. The behind the scenes folk who do costuming, set production, lighting and sound are highly skilled. Again, they generally do a half dozen or so major shows a year.
The Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation, ever so slightly separate from the Little Theatre group, brings in other shows to keep the historic Broad Street venue vibrant. The Forum River Center, fresh off SPLOST funded fresh up, is also a major player in contributing to Romes quality of life
There is nothing that that warms this old man’s heart any more than the sound of children’s laughter and sight of the accompanying smiles. Sometime during the holiday season, probably best in the evening, just drop in to the Forum on Ice and watch the kids having a blast on the ice. That’s quality of life!
For those who enjoy the Great Outdoors, Rome has a wealth of opportunities from walking or riding your bike on the Heritage Riverways (yes, that’s the official name) trail system, to taking advantage of two magnificent “urban wilderness” network of trails on Jackson Hill near downtown Rome and Garrard Park beside the old GE plant in West Rome. Speaking of the riverways, use of the rivers by kayakers, canoers and paddle boarders has really picked up during the past decade but I think the Oostanaula, Etowah and Coosa are still a vastly under-utilized asset to our community. We could use a few more launches into the rivers.
I certainly don’t want leave out State Mutual Stadium, the county-owned facility that is leased to the Rome Braves. Nor do I want to forget Stonebridge golf course or the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. Visitors to both of the latter facilities sing their praises far more than many locals.