As a community we can sit back and let things happen, or we can move forward and make them happen.

We’ve made some big moves with the expansion of a trail network and construction of the tennis center (cue the social media backlash) and they’re paying off. We’ve got to continue moving forward in order to craft the kind of future we’d like to see.

This time we’re talking about plans for the River District.

Rome looks like it’s pumped up to turn the area between Second Avenue and Fifth Avenue along West Third into a lively, attractive extension of downtown.

There have been some gems in what the city has hoped would develop into a burgeoning arts district, but a new development would be a massive shot in the arm toward that goal.

There are several moving parts to make it happen, but it would include an area targeted for a farmers and artisans market with a rooftop deck and amphitheater among other items.

Alongside that, there are plans for a multimillion dollar residential, office and retail project in the area.

The hope continues to be derived from the movie adage — if you build it they will come — but less about baseball and more about attracting young professionals and businesses.

The chamber and development authority have both touted the intangibles that draw industry. One of the more popular concepts today is the live-work-play community.

Those pedestrian-friendly communities offer a diversity of activities — from trails to shopping to nightlife. That’s exactly what the city is shooting for with this project.

It’s good to see the county is willing to work with the city on this project. The surprising revelation that the county owns the Fifth Avenue Bridge deflated many who’ve been championing the project.

It’s not been long enough since there was a constant source of contention between the two governments. It’s good to see continued cooperation and we encourage it.

Under the Gold Dome

There are so many heartening things coming out of the Georgia Legislature — to name a few a continued path for criminal justice reforms and even potentially tax reforms as well as paid leave for new mothers — that hastily signed new election laws have marred what should be a banner final week.

The basis for so many of the election “reform” proposals stem directly from outright lies of voter fraud championed by the former president, who frankly lost the election.

It’s a shame for so many reasons. In Floyd County, it’ll be a shame because it will likely disenfranchise many rural voters — likely the same ones Republicans would want coming to the ballot boxes.

If we don’t take any of Georgia’s history into account, there’s nothing wrong with requiring ID for absentee ballot voting. It seems like a fair and honest request, again if we forget a protracted history in this state of disenfranchising voters.

The measure appears to target the voters who drove forward wins for the Democratic Party in 2020 here, Black voters. Even assuming the best intentions, that’s how this measure — now signed into law — looks.

Couple the hasty passage with a state legislator, a Black woman, being arrested on felony charges during the signing and it hearkens back to those dark days of obvious and out-and-out voter suppression measures codified in Georgia law.

We feel that Gov. Brian Kemp is trying to do his best as our governor, but appearances matter and this looks bad. Now we’ll have to see how it plays out in court as our tax dollars fund another pointless lawsuit.

Thank you for reading.

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