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Broad Street's missing reindeer is recovered, anonymous letter apologizes for theft and includes $340 in cash

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Downtown Rome's missing topiary reindeer has been recovered from a ditch off Fouche Gap Road on December 27. The reindeer was taken sometime be-tween December 1-4 from its space in the 500 block of Broad Street median.

Whoever took the topiary last month then wrote a letter to the city apologizing for the theft and included $340 in cash to help pay for the damages. The letter did not say specifically where the deer had been dumped but Floyd County Public Works employees later found it on the mountain west of Rome.

The topiary was valued at $586 and the cash that was sent through the mail is being held as evidence for the time being. Detective Corey Bowers with the Rome Police said the letter had a metro Atlanta area postmark. Police are still investigating the case and asking anyone with information to contact Bowers.

Downtown Development Authority Director Amanda Carter told her board of directors Thursday the topiary will need to have its lighting rewired but should be back on Broad Street during the 2018 holiday season

The DDA will present the results of the latest downtown parking study to Broad Street merchants during a meeting Jan. 16 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the Rome Area History Museum. The meeting is designed specifically for the Broad Street business network and Downtown Parking Manager Becky Smyth said additional meetings will be scheduled at later dates to get broader public reaction and input.

“Parking is really at a premium for us which is an excellent problem to have,” said Rome City Commissioner Evie McNiece, the commission liaison to the DDA. “One of our biggest problems is still employees parking on Broad Street, said Bob Blumberg, new chairman of the DDA. We need to find a way to ad-dress that.”

The study was conducted by Tim Haahs a consultant out of Alpharetta. The preliminary recommendations last summer hinted at a fully paid parking system. Broad Street alone has close to 250 street-level parking spaces while the down-town district itself has a little over 400 street level spaces.

Ballard Betz, Megan Watters and Connie Sams all took their oaths of office as the newest members of the DDA board Thursday. Watters will chair the design committee, Sams will take over promotions, David Prusakowski continue to lead the outreach committee and Betz will lead the business development committee.