Christmas banners downtown

New Christmas season banners went up on Broad Street on Monday.

The Christmas holiday shopping season is always a big boost for retailers. This year, it could be more important than ever, given the problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic of the last eight months.

Rome Downtown Development Director Aundi Lesley told members of the Rome Floyd Chamber Small Business Action Council that she is willing to think outside of the box to bring in shoppers over the next two months and beyond.

“The sky is the limit,” Lesley said Tuesday. “If you think you have the wildest craziest idea, I am here to discuss those ideas.”

The annual holiday open house sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority is scheduled for Saturday. New Christmas banners went up on light poles in the district Monday.

While some of the traditional events geared toward children will not happen this year because of COVID-19, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be downtown Saturday from noon until 2 p.m., riding in the Roman Chariot golf carts for pictures.

About 20 businesses will be partnering with local vendors to bring additional shopping opportunities to the downtown district.

The Rome for the Holidays program will have downtown merchants open late each Thursday night between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Businesses that choose to participate will stay open until 8 p.m. to give folks a chance to get some shopping done.

On Friday, the DDA will partner with Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful on a cleanup, to get the business district looking good for the upcoming holidays.

The DDA board will conduct its annual planning session Thursday.

Lesley said a lot of attention will be given to the River District on the west side of the Oostanaula River. The $2 million streetscape project funded through the special purpose, local option sales tax is expected to get underway in the coming year.

“We are confident that once that public investment happens and continues to happen, private investment will follow,” Lesley said.

Another of her goals is to get a small grocery store downtown. Lesley said that’s one of the needs she continues to hear that would benefit residents and business owners alike.

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