Leaders of the One Community United group in Rome have been convinced to move a September event from Broad Street to the Chief John Ross Pedestrian Footbridge. The One Table event for 225 invited guests has been scheduled for Sept. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Charles Love explained the organization started about three years ago in a concerted effort to bring the community together. “We are being proactive in terms of having a diverse group of people come together and getting to know each other better,” Love said. “This is happening in smaller sessions around town.”
“We went to individual restaurants and some of the local farmers — farm to table local produce — to help prepare this meal,” Love said. “Some are supporting it and some are waiting to see.”
Love tried to persuade the Downtown Development Authority to allow the event to be held on one side of Broad Street, in just one block, because it was a highly visible location. “Downtown is that,” Love said. “The visual is we have 225 people sitting down at a table, people of different cultures, different races, coming together. That’s what we want to portray — that this community is like that.”
Rome Public Works Director Chris Jenkins said he didn’t want to make a recommendation to the city commission regarding the street closure until he had input from the DDA. Love said, “This is somewhat unprecedented, but this is something that can be done.”
“At what point do we say you can’t do it for everybody,” said Rome Police Sgt. Danny Story. “They’re an outstanding organization. There are logistical problems to shutting down Broad Street for every organization that comes in and wants to shut down the street,” Story said. “There’s got to be a better location to have this event where it can be more manageable and safe.”
“We’d love to partner with you,” DDA Chairman Steven McDowell said.
After nearly an hour of discussion, including the possibility of merging the event into the Oct. 14 Fiddlin’ Fest, Love agreed to move the event over to the bridge between the Forum River Center and the new Courtyard by Marriott.
“I was pushing for Broad, but I’m always open for compromise. But next year, I would like to join with you all in planning this (for Broad Street), because we want to do this the same time every year,” Love said.