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Romans seeking more sidewalks

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The effort to make Rome more of a walkable community is stretching out well beyond the booming Broad Street district. “We’re getting more demand for sidewalks than we’ve ever had before,” Rome Public Services Manager Kirk Milam told members of the city Public Works, Transit and Traffic Committee on Wednesday.

One of the largest projects involves installation of curb, gutter and sidewalks on both sides of Burnett Ferry Road from Shorter Avenue almost to Alto Park Elementary School. Public Works Director Chris Jenkins showed Commissioners Sundai Stevenson, Milton Slack and Wendy Davis before and after pictures from several sections of the project and the difference is like night and day.

Jenkins said the contractor has indicated the $1.1 million 2013 special purpose; local option sales tax- funded project would be finished by the end of December. “SPLOST has provided us with one great road,” Jenkins said of the Burnett Ferry project.

Jenkins also showed slides of the East Twelfth Street sidewalk replacement work, funded by federal Community Development Block Grant funds. “These are projects that every local community will lose,” said Commissioner Wendy Davis. She was referring to the administration plans in Washington to zero out the CDBG program.

The first phase of that work was done for $155,000 and phase two, projected to cost $131,000, will begin after the city gets the 2017 allocation.

Commissioner Milton Slack said he would like to see curb, gutter and sidewalk work on Wadsworth Street in North Rome. “There are ditches there you could lose a car in,” said Slack.

Courtnay Williams, grant program manager in the city Community Development office, said Rome has used CBG money to fund sidewalk improvements along Kingston Avenue and Calhoun Road, both major thoroughfares in North Rome, from 2014 through 2016.