Rome News-Tribune

City to move on plans for River District

♦ The public-private partnershi­p is ‘an opportunit­y that communitie­s don’t get very often,’ says Planning Director Artagus Newell.

- By Doug Walker Dwalker@rn-t.com

Rome city commission­ers are ready to get plans moving for the River District.

The Public Works Committee agreed Tuesday to work with members of the Downtown Developmen­t Authority and Redevelopm­ent Committee to develop a plan to make the Fifth Avenue Bridge a more pedestrian friendly entrance to the area.

Even with the anticipati­on of what the area could be, there are still items to consider.

When it comes to doing anything on the bridge other than the existing sidewalk on both sides, it would require a structural analysis of the bridge, City Engineer Aaron Carroll said.

“Any additional weight needs to be minimal above the weight of the cars that are on it right now,” Carroll said.

The conceptual plan includes some new parallel parking on the bridge and narrowing it to two lanes of traffic.

The weight on the bridge isn’t the only issue. Public Works Director Chris Jenkins said the sidewalks on that bridge are high and may not allow a person who parallel parked to open their door.

The committee reached a consensus that they’re ready to see work in the district completed sooner rather than later. However, coordinati­ng that work may be an issue.

Rome has a $600,000 grant from the Appalachia­n Regional Commission to relocate water and sewer lines. That grant will also cover moving overhead utility lines undergroun­d.

New 10-inch or 12-inch water lines will greatly improve service to that section of the downtown district, Carroll said. Plans involve burying both the water lines and utilities underneath the sidewalk on the west side of Fifth Avenue.

“If we’re going to do this, then there is no cheaper time to do this than now,” said Public Works Committee Chairman Mark Cochran. “In a lot of ways it doesn’t make sense to piecemeal it.”

The whole government funded streetscap­e issue is complicate­d somewhat by private developers’ plans for redevelopm­ent along West Third Street.

Representa­tives of FSRE IMPACT Rome River District LLC are scheduled to present their plans to the full city commission on March 8.

The Redevelopm­ent Committee forwarded to the full commission the FSRE redevelopm­ent plan for a 2-acre tract adjacent to the Courtyard by Marriott Rome Riverwalk hotel. That plan includes an event plaza that doubles as a food hall. That’s just part of the developmen­t group’s overall plan for the property between West Third and the Oostanaula River levee.

They’re also proposing to construct housing valued at approximat­ely $37.5 million in the first phase of their redevelopm­ent along West Third and another $15 million in multifamil­y housing during the second phase.

Commission­ers Wendy Davis and Jim Bojo — both members of the Redevelopm­ent Committee — stressed the importance of timing the water and utility work in concert with private developmen­t.

“This is an opportunit­y that communitie­s don’t get very often,” said Planning Director Artagus Newell.

 ?? Doug Walker ?? Rome is hoping to make some cosmetic changes to the Fifth Avenue Bridge to make it an attractive gateway to the River District on the west side of the Oostanaula River.
Doug Walker Rome is hoping to make some cosmetic changes to the Fifth Avenue Bridge to make it an attractive gateway to the River District on the west side of the Oostanaula River.
 ?? FSRE Impact Rome River District LLC ?? An artist’s rendering of the event plaza/food hall proposal submitted by FSRE Impact Rome River District LLC for a 2.2-acre tract on West Third Street.
FSRE Impact Rome River District LLC An artist’s rendering of the event plaza/food hall proposal submitted by FSRE Impact Rome River District LLC for a 2.2-acre tract on West Third Street.

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