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Rome City Commission holds public hearings for proposed redevelopment corridors

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023–7:25 a.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

The Rome City Commission held public hearings for the establishment of two more Tax Allocation Districts.

The Martha Berry corridor would be the 5th TAD district and includes 41 parcels on 131 acres. The southern boundary rests at West Ninth Street and moves up toward North Fifth Avenue and West 12th Street. The northern boundary stops just short of Harbin Clinic. One of the larger properties is the former Sumo restaurant site.

There are currently no specific projects in hand, but if the TAD district is approved, it is anticipated that some projects to develop rather quickly.

There have already been some improvement projects in the area, including the complete makeover of the former Glenwood Apartments and Berry College’s purchase of the old Sunrise Inn & Suites motel, which was then converted to housing for students. Another project, known as The Point, is nearly ready to go. That project, expected to include housing and retail, will take all but a small corner of the triangle formed by Martha Berry Boulevard, North Fifth Avenue, and West 11th Street. Areas across the street from The Point could benefit from a TAD.

Meanwhile, a much larger redevelopment district would be along North Broad Street, consisting of 162 parcels on 181 acres. It would be the 6th TAD district. The boundaries would go from Turner McCall Boulevard all the way up to North Avenue. It goes as far east as Thankful Baptist Church. The proposed district has grown during discussions held by the Rome Redevelopment Committee, with the idea that it would be an entire corridor.

One site that could benefit from the extra help provided by a TAD is the former O’Neill Manufacturing site on Anderson Street which is under Brownfield designation. Brownfield sites are properties where redevelopment or re-use may be complicated by a hazardous substance, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. O’Neill was a building supply manufacturer that used chemical treatment on wood construction material.

“This is simply a step in our process to hold a public hearing tonight,” said Rome City Manager Sammy Rich during Monday’s meeting. “We would advertise and have additional public hearings and adoptions on these ultimately. The goal would be to set up the redevelopment areas and then if someone had a specific project that they wanted to request TAD funding for, they would go through the process that we have historically have allowed. There is a formal review and application process and that gets brought back to the city commission for approval.”

Under a TAD, increased property taxes that stem from a redevelopment project are funneled back into the project for a set number of years to help offset the cost.

Only one person spoke during the public hearings Monday night.