City Commission approves $10.4 million for 15 ARPA projects

Commissioner Jamie Doss (left) proclaims Nov. 22 as Salvation Army Day on Monday and thanks Captains Tim and Paula Blevins for their work in Rome.

The Rome City Commission approved on Monday the use of $10.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for 15 projects between now and 2024.

Commissioners had discussed 14 and City Manager Sammy Rich proposed another: approximately $750,000 for making sewer improvements in the Chulio Hills subdivision.

“It warms my heart to see Chulio Hills added to this list,” Commissioner Bill Collins said.

Other projects include an employee COVID-19 vaccine incentive program; essential-employee pay for city employees; hiring an ARPA project manager; water meter replacements; security cameras from Broad Street to Banty Jones Park; Office of Technology Services upgrades; numerous park upgrades; renovation of a West First Street building; housing incentives; a new park; Rome-Floyd Land Bank projects; a new Downtown Development Authority program; and housing counseling.

Commissioner Jim Bojo made the motion to approve. Commissioner Randy Quick seconded.

Commissioner Wendy Davis was the sole “no” vote. She said she was unable to be at the Nov. 12 special called meeting where the projects were discussed and never received the agenda she requested.

“I guess I should have begged for it,” Davis said. “I’m just not happy with the process.”

Commissioner Mark Cochran was absent.

Also on Monday, Bojo spoke on behalf of the recently formed Landmarking Committee during caucus.

The committee has chosen five locations in Rome to be landmarked as historic sites. They are the site of the old Weaver Wing, the home of Cherokee Chief John Ross, Mitchell Plaza, the African American side of Myrtle Hill Cemetery and the Neely School on Clock Tower Hill.

This was just a recommendation to the commission and no action was taken. Bojo said he expects two or three more locations to be selected some time in 2022.

Also discussed during caucus was an update on the Unified Land Development Code revision.

The ULDC is a document that contains all of the zoning regulations and requirements for land use throughout the city and county. It should be updated every 10 years, but Rome and Floyd County’s version hasn’t seen an update in over 20.

Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative was chosen to revise the document over a 14-month period. Spokesperson Claire Morris said the document could be ready for adoption by May 20, 2022.

The first draft will be reviewed by city staff the week of Dec. 20. There will then be a 30-day review period before the draft is submitted to the city commission and undergo another 30-day review period.

A public draft would then be submitted on March 21, followed by another 30-day review period. After all public comments are submitted by April 21, the final draft would be unveiled in May.

“We’re excited,” Mayor Craig McDaniel said. “I have a feeling we’re about to see some growth we haven’t seen and changing the ULDC is a very timely matter.

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