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Atlanta mayor vetoes letting state close street near Capitol

ATLANTA — Atlanta’s mayor has vetoed a proposal that would have let the state permanently close part of a street between the Georgia Capitol and a legislative office building.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms wrote in a letter that the city’s charter prohibits individual City Council members from negotiating with the state on behalf of the city, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. She also wrote that the council failed to give proper public notice before voting to abandon the one-block stretch of Mitchell Street just east of Atlanta City Hall.

Council Member Michael Bond had said he had worked out a deal to let the state close the block of Mitchell Street to enhance security at the Capitol in exchange for sidewalk and safety improvements along a state-owned road on the northwest side of Atlanta.

The 15-member council voted 12-1 to approve the ordinance and could override Bottoms’ veto with a two-thirds supermajority.

The block has been closed for years during sessions of the General Assembly, in part because there is heavy pedestrian traffic back and forth between the Capitol and the Coverdale Legislative Office Building. But state officials have had a request pending for years that the city give up the block so the street can be permanently closed to enhance security. Traffic has been blocked off since racial injustice protests began in June.

Bottoms said she supports the $6 million in sidewalk and safety improvements to Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. A Georgia Department of Transportation spokesperson told the newspaper that safety improvements are already being scheduled.

Bond said he disagreed that he had done anything wrong by talking to the state. He said Bottoms has worked to raise the $6 million from private donors. Bond said the city getting involved would slow improvements, saying residents “are suffering over these endless arguments about technicalities and ego.”

Bottoms said abandoning the street would require the city to hold public hearings and notify the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and nearby Grady Memorial Hospital.

Gov. Brian Kemp and other officials agreed to spend $5 million in safety improvements at the Capitol after the summer, in part because the Republican governor has kept a detachment of National Guard soldiers activated to provide security at the cost of at least $200,000 a month.

Workers now are digging a trench to build the foundation for the 8-foot (2.5-meter) metal fence, which will have spikes on top.

Community Calendar for Tuesday, Feb. 16


Floyd County Public Works will close Strawberry Lane at No. 413 to through traffic until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, to replace a failed cross drain. Motorists should use Spring Village Road to Dewberry Lane as a bypass to avoid the work zone.

Floyd County Public Works will close one lane in the 400 block of Old River Road near the boat ramp while crews are at work in the area. Drivers should expect slight delays until 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18.


The Animal Rescue Foundation of Rome/Floyd will hold its annual SPAYghetti dinner fundraiser from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18 at the Rome Senior Center on Riverside Parkway. Cost: $15 per person, $25 per couple, $5 ages 3-10. Tickets available at Peggy’s Backyard, Wet Petz, Sue’s Barber Shop and at the door. Social distancing will be observed.


Keep Rome-Floyd Beautiful will celebrate Arbor Day with a public event set for 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at Tolbert Park, 300 Charlton St. For more information visit KeepRomeFloydBeautiful.org.


TRED is celebrating the GE Trails 4th birthday with a casual trail walk at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at Garrard Park, 1935 Redmond Circle. Java Joy coffee, cupcakes and snacks will be served. The event is free but donations will be accepted. For more information, contact Julie at 706-844-8509.


The Highland Rivers Health Governing Board of Directors will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, via teleconference. The meeting is open to the public. For additional information, please call 706/270-5000.

The NWGA Center for Independent Living will present a free Zoom class, on how they assist people with disabilities, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb 25. Attendees will be entered to win a Visa gift card. Email Christina Holtzclaw at choltzclaw@nwgacil.org for the meeting link or call 706-314-0008 for more information.

The Friends of the Library Silent Auction is accepting bids through March 1 at 4 p.m. There are five showcases at the library, 205 Riverside Parkway, with a special focus on history books and memorabilia. For a complete list, check the library website, www.shrls.org/romefriends-of-the-library.


The AlAnon support group meets at Westminster Church, 1941 Shorter Ave., at noon each Wednesday. Everyone is invited to come.

The Our Lady of the Three Rivers Chapter of the Society of Mary meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, 42 Ash St. For more information call 706-506-1241.

VFW Post 4911 at 2632 Cedartown Highway hosts Bingo every Friday night. You do not have to be a member to play. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., the kitchen opens at 6 p.m., and the games begin at 7:30 p.m. Cash prizes.

The NWGA Center for Independent Living holds a COVID-19 Peer Support call every Monday at 2 p.m. via the Zoom website and by phone. For the link and password, or if you need assistance, contact Christina Holtzclaw at 628-246-1825 or choltzclaw@nwgacil.org.

American Legion Post 136 from Lindale meets the fourth Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the VFW post at 2642 Cedartown Highway. Masks are required.

DAV Chapter 95 meets the fourth Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at VFW Post 4911 on Cedartown Highway. Face masks are required. For more information or assistance in filing VA claims, contact Chapter Commander Art Cook at 334-208-2736.

Pisgah Baptist Church, 5603 Alabama Highway, has Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. and Sunday worship at 10:50 a.m. On Wednesdays they offer 8:30 a.m. prayers and 7 p.m. Bible study and a youth meeting.

Bush Arbor Baptist Church, 3290 Black’s Bluff Road, holds Sunday School at 10 a.m., worship service at 11 a.m. and evening services at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Bible study is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. For more information, visit their Facebook page or call 770-885-0779.

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, 42 Ash St., meets for Holy Communion Sundays at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome. A nursery is provided. For more information call 706-506-1241.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church offers Sunday worship at 10 a.m. broadcast on WLAQ radio station as well as YouTube live streaming. Celtic Service is available on St. Peter’s Facebook at 5:30 p.m. each Wednesday. For more information, contact the church office at 706-291-9111 or visit stpetersrome.org.

Covenant Presbyterian Church (EPC), 1645 Cartersville Highway in Rome, holds Sunday School at 10 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. traditional communion worship service. Social distancing practiced, masks recommended but not required. For further information, visit CovenantRome.org or call 706-767-8373.

To list an event email RomeNewsTribune@RN-T.com or call 706-290-5252.