Middle-market housing options have been identified as a major issue by local economic developers.
A major housing summit is scheduled for Feb. 20 to discuss the issue and identify potential incentives for developers to improve that market in Rome and Floyd County.
“We have to be able to provide our future employees with a place to live,” said Missy Kendrick, president of the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority, during a meeting with the Development Authority of Floyd County on Wednesday.
There’s a lack of housing between the range of $100,000 to perhaps as high as $225,000, she said.
Bill Temple at Toles, Temple & Wright Real Estate said the Georgia Multiple Listing Service has 49 homes in Floyd County listed on the market between $100,000 and $150,000.
Another 37 were on the market Wednesday for between $150,000 and $200,000 while another 31 were available between $200,000 and $250,000.
The purpose of the summit will be to address the local real estate market as well as develop outside-the-box initiatives and different ways to jump-start the market across the community.
Also on Wednesday, Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord told the authority that a contractor has helped fill in and improve a low area on the lone remaining tract of land in the Floyd County Industrial Park off U.S. 27 South.
Southeastern Mills has the first option on the parcel, he said, but if someone else were to show immediate interest, the work done by prison crews will help the property show better.
Following the formal meeting, McCord said work to extend an access road across a major natural gas line adjacent to the Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center was put on hold while county public works crews hauled dirt to the site of the Ball Packaging expansion project.
The new road will open up another 50 acres for future industry. The dirt and some grading is part of the incentive package Ball got for the expansion.
“We’re limited in crews. We’ve got about 17 vacancies currently, so I didn’t have enough crews to do both projects,” McCord said.
The next priority, he said, will be bringing the gas line across and finishing the grading on the 10 acres next to the 100-acre tract at the intersection of Ga. 140 and 53.
McCord said the high number of vacancies in public works is not a bad thing for the community because it is a sign of a good economy. People have opportunities to make a higher wage and get more overtime with private contractors.
“But it is a tough time for us to hire equipment operators and truck drivers and skilled laborers. It’s just the nature of the beast,” McCord said.
The county is also partnering with the city and the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority to identify future industrial property.
“We actually lowered the threshold. We were looking at 100 acres-plus on the initial look. We lowered that to 50 acres-plus,” McCord said.
A list of the top 12 properties has been developed and McCord said he’s spoken with several of the property owners.
“We’re actively working on that with a goal of at least getting some options in 2020,” McCord said. “Then we can start marketing them and maybe attract some other business.”