Rock­mart al­ley­way re­mains open for now

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­

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.

/ Kevin Myrick

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.

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