Rome’s focus to develop new affordable housing in South Rome may spread beyond that community sooner rather than later. Community Development Director Bekki Fox told the city Community Development Services committee Tuesday that her office is working with the South Rome Redevelopment Corp. to acquire some property off Shorter Avenue in West Rome.
“They (SRRC) have agreed to be our development partners as we expand this program to other areas of the city,” Fox said. She explained that parcels had been identified in West Rome but that during the process of running title checks, deed restrictions were discovered that have slowed down the process.
“We feel like there may be a little light at the end of the tunnel,” Fox said. Work is underway to try to clear those hurdles and Fox said that if that pans out, she expects as many as four new homes could be built on the West Rome property. She predicted they could sell even faster than those on Wilson Avenue and Pollock Street in South Rome have.
The revolving fund account that finances the new construction now has almost $680,000 in it, and that will go up to nearly $900,000 as soon as two more sales on Pollock Street are closed.
Fox said the SRRC is also in the process of clearing several lots on Peachtree Street in South Rome for at least two more homes in what is being dubbed the South Meadows community. Fox did say that the contractor, Cargle Brothers, which built the four new homes on Pollock Street, had expressed interest in bidding on the new homes on Peachtree Street, but was not sure if they could do the work without an increase in price.
Construction materials have gone up significantly in the past year.
“Even with all of the stuff that we take care of, it’s hard to keep them affordable,” Fox said. “We hope even if the houses go up in price $5,000 to $10,000, that with the second mortgage that we can provide at the city they will still be affordable.”
Fox said her goal is to have eight more new homes built by the end of 2020.
Rome Floyd Building Inspection official James Martin told the committee that 68 permits have been authorized for new single family homes within the city limits this year, more than double the number, 29, that were issued through the month of September last year.
Megan Treglown with the Downtown Development Authority briefed the committee on the upcoming Fiddlin’ Fest, this Saturday. More than 60 vendors will be set up in the Cotton Block. The Armuchee Ruritan Car show will be located in the 300 and 400 blocks. There will be multiple stages spread out along the Broad Street corridor.
Broad Street will be shut down at 7 a.m. Saturday so that participants can get set up. The event will begin at noon and continue through 8 p.m.