Briggs addresses crowd

Berry College President Stephen Briggs (center with microphone) tells attendees at the indoor tennis center ribbon-cutting Monday, Aug. 11, that work will start soon on a new 80-room Fairfield by Marriott hotel next to the facility off the Armuchee Connector. 

Berry College, through its Lavender Mountain Hospitality Services LLC subsidiary, got the green light for a proposed Fairfield Inn & Suites adjacent to the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College Monday night.

The Rome City Commission agreed to move forward with Tax Allocation District financing without any support from Floyd County.

City Commissioners agreed to extend the city portion of a tax rebate to Berry from 10 to 15 years in order for Berry to recoup the $1.74 million college officials had sought to make the project financially viable.

“I continue to think this is a great project,” said Commissioner Wendy Davis, who chairs the city’s Redevelopment Committee. “I think we’re making a smart investment in the future of our community.”

Berry General Counsel Danny Price told commissioners the college hopes to have the new hotel ready for occupancy Oct. 1, 2021.

The college also agreed that if the facility is found to be eligible for an education exemption from property taxes, it would not seek such an exemption until 15 years after the TAD financing plan ends.

The revised agreement marks the first time the city has agreed to TAD financing without the participation of Floyd County. Under a TAD, property tax increases that stem from the improvements are funneled back into a project for a set number of years.

Also on Monday, the board approved a request from Daniel Stephenson and Berry Construction to rezone the parcels at 201 and 203A Redmond Road for residential use.

The plan is to develop four duplexes, eight residences, on the two narrow lots at the intersection of Redmond Road and Raymond Avenue.

Commissioners also accepted amendments to the teen curfew ordinance on first reading. The ordinance prohibits anyone under the age of 17 from being on the streets unsupervised between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., with some exemptions.

The primary change involves changing the word “shall” to “may,” giving police the option of issuing a warning on first offense or taking stronger action.

The city also gave its approval to the issuance of $19.5 million in bonds for the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority’s takeover and major rehabilitation of the 184-unit Ashland Park apartment complex. The action was a formality and the city is not responsible for paying off the bonds should the housing authority experience financial problems.

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