Rockmart’s GICH program expecting news t his week.
City officials anticipate an announcement this week whether Rockmart has been chosen to participate in the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) program.
“I hope we are selected as the next winner of this outstanding opportunity,” said Steve Miller, mayor, prior to the recent site visit that brought program representatives to the City.
Karen Tinsley from the University of Georgia, Chris Higdon from the Georgia Municipal Association and Beth Spears from the Department of Community Development met with the City of Rockmart Housing Team, which includes community stakeholders.
Sherman Ross, city council member, addressed the group about work that has been completed and the current housing needs within the community.
One of the housing success stories mentioned is Jackson Square, which was built through a collaborative effort of the City of Rockmart, State Department of Community Affairs, and Northwest Georgia Housing Authority. The project includes 22 apartments - 16 public housing units 9 DCA units.
Local officials have discussed several areas that could become eligible for technical assistance provided as part of the GICH program. These include College, Goodyear Village, Pearl, Beach, Williamson and Church streets, Piedmont Avenue, Jones Hill and Westside.
Following the meeting, a bus tour was made to see these areas and other points of interest: Silver Comet Trail, Rockmart Theatre, Government Complex, Goodyear Village – location of Meggitt Polymers and Composites ( once Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company location), Rockmart Veterans Memorial, Rockmart Historical Museum, Seaborn Jones Park and Church Street Manor.
The Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) offers a threeyear program of collaboration and technical assistance related to housing and local development.
The objective of the Initiative is to help communities create and launch a plan to meet their housing and neighborhood revitalization needs.
If the request for GICH assistance is approved, Rockmart will receive help in creating and launching a locally based housing plan to meet housing needs and neighborhood revitalization. This will involve technical assistance, collaboration, expert presenters, trainers, facilitation, and consensus building, networking and mentoring.
During the program of technical assistance and cross-sharing the community housing team will: attend two retreats a year with other participating communities, identify issues and needs, available resources and potential objectives, develop new ideas, learn about best practices and available resources and funding for housing and community development, produce a housing plan with objectives and goals and begin implementation of a program of action.
Ross said city officials continue to address local housing needs for Rockmart citizens. He referenced recent approval of ordinances to improve conditions brought about by vacant and abandoned properties identified as dangerous or unsafe.
Jeff Ellis, city manager, emphasized that abandoned or blighted property can significantly impact any neighborhood.
“Rockmart is not the only community facing these issues,” Ellis said. “It can be a win, win situation when people take responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of buildings they own.”
Sherman Ross, city council member, addresses GICH program representatives and others during site visit to Rockmart.