There is no custom code to display.

There is no custom code to display.

West Third Street likely to see first of the Streetscape work in the River District

Wednesday, July 10, 2024–8:55 p.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

It appears as though the West Third Street portion of the River District Streetscape will be the first to be completed.

On Wednesday, the City of Rome’s Public Works Committee approved a recommendation from staff to move ahead with what is known as phase II of the project first, but with a commitment that the work will then lead uninterrupted into phases I and III.

Phase II involves the underground conversion of utility lines plus structure conversion plans, in addition to the actual streetscape construction.

According to Rome City Manager Sammy Rich, there was $2 million earmarked in the 2017 special purpose, local option sales tax for the entire streetscape project. However, with rising costs, that is not enough to complete all of the work. So, the decision was made to do the project in phases, with the second phase first up.

“The Georgia power underground process has to begin over during phase II because the power will physically be coming in from Fourth Street,” Rich told the committee. “That further makes it seem logical to us that if we if we can do phase II first, it gets it that underground, which will set us up to go underground for phase I and III also.”

The estimated cost for phase II alone is $3,016,612.09. More than $1.7 million of that is for the underground conversion of the power lines.

“We’ve got about $1.5 million left in the SPLOST allocation for this project, after spending some on design, conceptual, and electrical work,” Rich said. “We’ve got another $1.5 million out of the TAD I bucket. So, we’ve got the $3 million in hand so we can pull the trigger now and do phase II. Then that puts us on the hunt to figure out how we are going to do phases I and III.”

Some of those other funding sources could include other SPLOST dollars earmarked for infrastructure, city capital funds, and state Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) funds.

Construction on the NOVA project continues on West Third Street. It will bring 250 new apartments to the River District.

However, some business owners in the area, including Nedra Manners, still believe the priority should be Fifth Avenue.

“When we did the SPLOST, the River District was really Fifth Avenue,” she said. It grew after the SPLOST was voted on. So, I really have a problem with that. Fifth Avenue continues to get new businesses, and we continue to grow. There is a lot of investment there.”

The plans for Fifth Avenue include two 12-foot lanes with angled parking and wider concrete sidewalks.

Commissioner Randy Quick assured Manners that phase I, which includes Fifth Avenue and phase III, which includes the realignment of the Avenue A intersection, will be completed. Then Quick made the motion that included a stipulation that phase II would lead uninterrupted into the other phases.

An estimated timetable for the work is difficult to determine, but it could be a year or a year and a half, which would give city officials time to come up with the funding to complete the rest of the streetscape project.