Rockmart alleyway remains open for now
The question over whether an alleyway in Rockmart will be closed was put off until at least December after the City Council decided to table a request until they could consider all parties positions.
It came among a night that included discussions previously reported over what to do about the providing an emergency cold weather shelter for the homeless and praise for positives coming in November for the area.
City officials received the request from Heather and John Pomponi, who purchased, who have asked to close off the alley behind their Piedmont Avenue home after several thefts have occurred of small items, but have prevented them from working on a second home they hope to restore to former glory as well.
They already put up a fence around their home after an incident where a man ran onto their porch, but Heather Pomponi said the problems have only gotten worse.
“We’ve put up cameras, but we feel uncomfortable beginning the renovations on the home directly next door to us,” she said. “We’ve recently had a truck battery stolen, an extension cord stolen, and other stuff on camera. We really don’t want to have home renovation equipment and things over there to really begin that work.”
They’re asking to put up a six foot privacy fence gate to keep people from accessing the back alleyway.
Their cause was additionally supported by a neighbor who said that during business hours, he watched people use the alleyway behind their home constantly and had reported to the family people coming and going several times around their property. It was viewed as a safety issue for the Pomponi family and their ability to continue their efforts to improve properties in Rockmart.
However one person came up and spoke against the proposal and forced the council to re-think their position. Frank Statham Jr., who owns a realty company office in the alley behind the Pompano household, said that if the city closed off the alleyway it would greatly impact his business.
“We’ve been using the alley for 43 years, ever since we built our office there,” he said. “Our customers use it, and our employees use it.”
He pointed to the use of the alleyway not only by his company’s own trucks but also by garbage collections to empty out his dumpster.
“We have a dumpster behind Second Time Around, and the best way to come through there is via Piedmont Avenue,” Statham explained.
Otherwise the truck would have to make several maneuvers to get around the closed alley, or the dumpster would have to be moved.
“No matter where we move it back there, that truck is going to have a hard time getting around to that dumpster,” he said.
Statham also explained that much of the foot traffic in the alley was connected to a former tenant no longer living in the property. They were allowing homeless people to stay with them, and he said that population didn’t have vehicles to get around and explained the amount of coming and going of people in the back alleyway.
“That has cut down considerably since the one tenant living there in the mobile home has moved out,” Statham said.
More time to consider what to do was the council’s answer for November, and they decided to table a decision until all could consider what the best solution would be for all.
Additional support also came in via e-mail into the city for closing the alleyway, City Manager Jeff Ellis reported.
They’ll have the Public Safety committee review the request for what to do about the alleyway closing before bringing it back up to the council for final approval.
Council business during November included the approval of rezoning of property adjacent to Rockmart High School that was purchased by the Polk School District, and also heard reports from Mayor Steve Miller and Ellis.
Council member Rick Stone recused himself in the vote due to a conflict of interest in the rezoning request.
Carlton Drive will also get an additional stop sign in the future after the city council approved moving forward with a plan to improve the traffic flow with two stop signs at the intersection with Mountain Home Road. Ellis explained he received the citizen request and looked it over, and saw it as a safety measure to help slow down drivers who in the area where children play.
Stone added that he was in full support for the measure.
Miller had high praise especially of downtown decorations and the Rockmart Art Gallery show in season currently of Susan Water’s “O Holy Night” nativity scene, and for the Rockmart High School football team’s winning season.
The Jackets, who during the Nov. 15 meeting had just completed the regular season at 10-0, have since added three more wins to their record and remain undefeated.
See this week’s Sports front for more on their latest win, and the upcoming game on Friday night.
The Rockmart City Council decided during their November session they wanted more time to consider what to do about a request to close off access to an alleyway causing homeowners trouble, but also would cut off access to a rental property company.