I haven't really had any success in sticking to New Year's resolutions.
But then I thought, “What if Rome itself made some resolutions for the coming year. What would the city want to change about itself in 2018? What are some of the things it wanted to improve upon and what are the things it would leave behind?”
I came up with a few things. You probably won't agree with all of them, but it's fun to think of our community as a living, breathing entity that needs to grow and change and improve just like we all do...
Waterpark: I think Rome needs a bigger, better waterpark in 2018. As soon as temperatures start rising, everyone runs over to the Town Green to splash around in the fountain. It would be great if Rome had a big waterpark. I know there's the Northside Swim Center, but I'm talking about something akin to Whitewater with all sorts of fun rides for kids AND adults, a wave pool and a lazy river. I know this is just wishful thinking on my part, but maybe someone can make this happen. We have three rivers for goodness sakes. Let's incorporate that somehow.
Fitness: Rome needs to get more fit. Just like you and I make resolutions to get to the gym more often or start running or whatever form of exercise we choose, Rome as a community needs to spend a little less time on the couch and more time outside being active. We all could stand to enjoy the outdoors a little more and walk, run, hike, bike, play tennis, swim, dance, whatever. Just get out and get active.
Target: One of Rome's big resolutions this year should be to get a Target. Maybe it can go where K-Mart was. Whether you wanna admit it or not, you or someone in your family would LOVE to have a Target that's closer than Cartersville. Target has everything. And it seems to be a little fancy. Maybe because the bathrooms are clean. I don't know if it's just because we don't have one here, but I feel like shopping at Target makes you a better, nicer person. I also feel the same way about Publix because their buggies are quiet.
Public alcohol: I'm sure I'll get a ton of hate mail for this one, but Rome would be doing itself a favor if it made public consumption of alcohol legal in the downtown area. This matter was proposed and voted down but mark my words, when we can allow Rome residents and visitors to walk around on Broad Street with a beer or drink in their hand, it will attract lots more people to come and enjoy our downtown area. A lot of locals imagine the worse — that drunken pedestrians will be strewn across Broad Street at all hours of the day and night. But I don't see that happening. I think it could be something that makes people see Rome's downtown area as both a beautiful, historic place to visit AS WELL AS a progressive, fun atmosphere to get together with friends.
Stricter traffic penalties: Rome might want to consider resolving to be tougher on drivers who try to turn left onto Broad Street from Second Avenue at the busiest times of the day, blocking traffic hundreds of yards back. Who are these people who miss the arrow for turning left onto Broad so they just SIT THERE for two cycles of the light, blocking everyone else from going straight, just so they can turn directly onto Broad. Drive your lazy butts one street up and turn, then get onto Broad. Don't hold up everyone else. AND ANOTHER THING, turn lanes exist so you can get into them, then slow down and possibly stop before you have to turn onto a particular street or road. Don't stop in the fast lane just so you can then make your way casually into the turn lane. That's how wrecks happen.
I hope that if you made any New Year's resolutions, that you manage to stick with 'em for as long as you can — whether it's to eat healthier or to help others or save more money. I wish Rome and Floyd County a beautiful and prosperous New Year filled with lots of love, laughter and, of course, great food.
Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune