Hamlet on the Town Green

In this September 2019 file photo, the Rome Shakespeare Festival puts on “Hamlet” at the Town Green next to the Forum River Center in downtown Rome.

There’s a hope summer events could return to the downtown area, but they won’t likely be on Broad Street.

Once Rome’s Downtown Development Authority approved its business improvement budget Thursday, the talk moved to the potential to resume the First Friday series.

Those events would in all likelihood be shifted to the Town Green, Promotions Committee Chair Connie Sams said, so they wouldn’t have to shut down Broad Street, except for the October Fiddlin’ Fest.

The aforementioned budget shows revenue and expense projections of $107,000 for 2021, with $34,350 set aside for promotions and $15,000 for the summer concert series.

Still in the planning stage, DDA Director Aundi Lesley said, the viability of hosting the First Friday celebrations will be based on the pandemic. As part of those talks they’re going to meet next week to discuss improving the lighting in the Town Green, Design Committee Chair Megan Watters said.

Parking and pedestrians

The parking enforcement program is likely to issue more warnings to violators during the coming year. Lesley said warnings are an effective tool for education and awareness.

“A $25 ticket, or whatever their violation may be the first time they visit Rome, that’s not necessarily the reputation we want to have,” she said. “That’s not the impact we want to have on that person’s impression of Rome.”

However, there will be less tolerance for those who move reserved parking cones in the Third Avenue Parking Deck to park in the reserved space.

“People pay premium rates to have that reserved spot,” Lesley said. “We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can so they can park in that spot they paid for.”

Lesley also explained that she expects to meet with the city Public Works Committee next month to discuss crosswalk safety.

“Thankfully, we’ve had zero incidents on Broad Street,” she said. “We just want to keep it that way ... and make sure we’re going above and beyond to keep everyone safe.”

In other business, the DDA approved a $2,500 façade grant for the work that has been done at Greene’s Jewelers. Elaine Abercrombie had asked for $4,680, which represented a third of her cost associated with the renovations.

Lesley also introduced new Parking Services Manager Patrick Van Der Horn. He is no stranger to Broad Street, having worked at Harvest Moon for a decade.

“I love Broad Street,” said Van Der Horn, who spent the past three years as a manager at Bella Roma. “I have always wanted to be back on Broad.”

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