One Community United is asking Rome’s Downtown Development Authority to fund a youth concert series for the summer downtown, like the First Friday concert series, but the idea is still in the planning stages.
One Community United organizer Candice Spivey brought the idea to DDA Director Aundi Lesley, looking to create something for young people to do downtown.
The lack of activities for kids and teenagers became a hot button issue in late 2021, after a brawl took place on the Town Green. A task force and committee were formed to tackle the issue of creating spaces and activities for Rome teens downtown.
One Community United ended up taking over that task force and members began brainstorming ways to attract youth to downtown as well as give them a fun and safe space.
“We want these kids to feel welcomed in Rome, and when they leave for school they’ll want to come back,” Spivey said.
They eventually came up with the concert series as a way to appeal to the youth in the area, as well as families. They currently don’t have any particular performer or group in mind, except for a local DJ.
Two questions will have to be answered before the idea can come to fruition: Who will fund the concert series and what security measures need to be in place.
Currently, Spivey and One Community United’s task force members don’t have a plan for covering the costs, but they are in the process of looking at funding.
Lesley said a series like the First Friday summer concerts typically costs between $25,000 and $35,000. In addition, the group would have to have some kind of police presence at the events to help with crowd control.
“Once you reach a certain number of people for an event downtown, you are required to hire off duty police officers,” Lesley said.
Spivey had planned to be at the DDA meeting to give a presentation on the idea, but was unable to make it.
At the same meeting, Lesley also went over some upgrades they’re working on for downtown Rome. Crews have been repainting and upgrading signage, trash cans and lampposts around Broad Street as part of a downtown “facelift” as Lesley described.
They have also created a rendering of a new archway that would be installed on Broad Street near the entrance of the historic district.
The sign would have two sides to signal to people what part of downtown they’re entering: The historic district and the river district. The current rendering features slopes that resemble the city’s seven hills and swirls to denote its three rivers. Currently, it would stand at about 27 feet tall.
They are still in the design phase of the project. The Rome City Commission would have to approve it before it could be installed.