Downtown merchant makes late plea to City Commission hours before parking vote. Three more sign up to talk parking tonight. Plus: Other meetings this week.

Downtown merchant makes late plea to City Commission hours before parking vote. Three more sign up to talk parking tonight. Plus: Other meetings this week.

The 500 block of Broad Street at 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 10, 2019. Photo courtesy of Nathan Hicks.


With a potential vote just hours away, a downtown Rome business owner has shared her email to city commissioners about streetside parking, kiosks and meters, and the long-term impact on customers. Lisa Smith of the Rabbit’s Nest of Rome in the 200 block shared the following note.

Also, three more people have asked to speak before the commission on parking at tonight’s meeting. Joining Ira Levy are Harry Brock, Terri Morgan and Jay Shell.

The commission’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be webcast.

The note:


I am writing again to remind you all that I am not for any plan that includes kiosk/meters on Broad Street. You have marketed the revitalization of Rome and we have it! Please don’t do anymore damage than has already been done by continuing to discuss paid parking.

The license plate reader is a good purchase – monitoring cars on Broad will be much more efficient. The three kiosks at Third Avenue Deck and behind Harvest Moon, Becky (Smyth, parking services manager) stated needed replacing. This updated equipment will help with rotation of cars and increased revenue. If any further steps are taken toward kiosk purchases, it will be to the detriment of Broad Street businesses. Many businesses are down substantially already.

As I’ve stated, you’re just swapping problems; only difference is, the parking plan future phase makes money and the people you represent – our customers – are highly opposed! Represent us – your constituents. There is an enormous outcry on social media that has already left Broad Street and we’re feeling it! To say you’re not on social media is no excuse not to be informed. Just as I have to change with the times to market to my customers, you must do the same to represent your constituents. To not do so is putting your head in the sand. 80% of communication is through digital platforms.

(The Downtown Development Authority) should represent Broad Street merchants and property owners, the majority of whom do not want paid parking on Broad Street. I can’t name a business that feels represented by DDA. In fact, there are discussions to bring the PRIDE group back into existence. This group represented Broad before DDA was formed. Many are supporting this.

I am thankful that each of you love Rome and are working toward it’s good. I just can’t understand as clearly stated as this is, that anyone could close their ears and vote to support any paid parking on Broad. We’re not big city and we don’t want to be – we are unique, a jewel to be treasured and protected.

I respectfully ask that you hear my words. Joan Brady cried at caucus (May 20). Please know many are crying privately. We don’t want to loose everything. Just like Joan, all we have is invested in Rabbit’s Nest – everything. Help me protect Broad Street and the many businesses that call Broad Street home.


Lisa Smith
Rabbit’s Nest of Rome

Chariot adds Friday lunch hours: The tourism office is adding Friday lunch time hours to the Roman Chariot free shuttle service in downtown Rome to accommodate increased traffic during the summer season. The summer hours are Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. as well as 5-11 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.  The new hours will begin this Friday. For free pick-up service, riders should text their location to 706-413-2822. The Roman Chariot will continue to keep the same route. It loops continuously from the Cotton Block to the 700 block and into the River District. Riders can request stops at crosswalks and intersections along the route as well as jump on the shuttle during stops. The Roman Chariot service utilizes six-seat passenger club cars to provide transportation to downtown shopping, restaurants, parking, hotels and The Forum River Center. For a map of the shuttle service route, visit


Busy week ahead with Rome and Floyd Commission meetings, as well as a called Rome Board of Education meeting.

Rome’s City commissioners will consider a second reading of Commissioner Craig McDaniel’s proposal to grant three hours of free parking daily and rolling back enforcement to 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday during Monday’s meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall. The amendment to the parking ordinance appears above. Three people have asked for time to speak before the commission so far and at least one of them will talk about downtown’s parking situation — longtime Rome businessman Ira Levy who has been behind some of the largest restoration and redevelopment projects in the community. Also scheduled to speak on different topics are Joan Ledbetter and Lavada Dillard.

For more on the commission meeting, please Click Agenda

Tonight at 6:30, we’ll post the live webcast link or you can find it here. We’re not aware of any technical difficulties this week as the city experienced at the May 20 meeting.

For more on the parking debate, please listen to our long-form podcast with Jay Shell and Harry Brock by click HH Parking

The Rome Board of Education will have a called meeting on Monday, June 10, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Superintendent’s Office at the Board of Education Administrative Offices at 508 E. Second St. The purpose of the meeting is to approve the final Intergovernmental contract and other documents associated with the Series 2019 Bonds along with a Georgia Fund One Resolution as well as other items.

The Floyd County Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in the Community Room, Suite 206, on the second floor of the Floyd County Administration Building, 12 East 4th Avenue, Rome, Georgia. Caucus will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the Commissioners Caucus Room, Suite 204, followed by the Board Meeting at 6:00 p.m.  The meetings are open to the public.

On the agenda, there will be three items placed on first reading, with second reading and public hearings scheduled for June 25. Among the first reading items will be a request to rezone property along Wax Road in Silver Creek from Community Commercial (CC) and Suburban Residential (SR) to Multi-Family Residential (MR) to build additional apartments. Staff and planning commission recommend denial of the request.

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