>Please click here for the audio edition: Just the Rant.
WHAT WE’RE THANKFUL FOR THIS THANKSGIVING:
For the return of the power of neighborhoods: The stance taken by the residents of Summerville Park as they fought encroachment from yet another hotel off Martha Berry was inspiring. Even as they were spurned by the City Commission, the residents – including Mayor Bill Collins – didn’t give up. Instead, they’ll welcome some units of senior housing.
For the businesses that double down on Rome/Floyd County: Amid all these custody battles for economic development, the nucleus of the “classic chamber” ushered through $600 million in reinvestments by International Paper, Ball Corp. and others in our community. That’s new jobs, continuing jobs and a great testament to relationships in this community.
For those who care for people without a voice in our community: No matter the intent, the pure shock value of the “urban camping” ordinance debate awoke a coalition of those helping some 400 people living on our streets. Even as city commissioners tried to hurry passage of the ordinance, this group stood fast in demanding a review of the ordinance’s impact before signing on. Now that group is expanding its efforts to serve those in need.
For the redevelopment of existing retail vs. urban sprawl: Yet again, we’re seeing Ledbetter Properties build new retail on land that previously had been used for similar purposes. First was Riverbend Center opening in 2003 and the RiverWalk complex that is home to Olive Garden and Shane’s. Now we’re seeing the one-time home of Kmart transformed into a lure for new retail and restaurants in our market off Turner McCall. Sure, the site is in demand – but what’s demand without bonafide commitment. We think a $24 million investment into East Bend is one heckuva commitment.
For our ample choices of education: Forget about all the rivalries and tugs-of-war for students. Few communities can match the varying options of public and private secondary education choices in Rome and Floyd County. City schools, county schools, religious and independent, area parents can and should compare them all to find the right fit for their young learners. There isn’t a bad decision to be made based on the test scores and other indicators we monitor.
For the bridge builders who refuse to give up: Whether the small group meetings of One Community United or the latest concept of visiting one church per quarter during the most “segregated hour of the week,” we continue to see definitive steps made to bridge the racial gaps: black, white, Latino, Asian and others.
For incredible healthcare so close to home. Years ago, our community was lauded for such wonderful medical options in one of the smaller cities in the country. If anything, those medical options and offices — as well as the number of medical professionals — have continued to increase across Northwest Georgia. We’re grateful for them all, from urgent care to curbside advice while attending a football game.
For some fresh air on the Rome City Commission: A third of the Rome City Commission rotates into new hands in January, the largest turnover in recent memory. We thank the exiting commissioners for their service. But we likewise welcome th enew blood and we’re anxious to see what they have in mind with their very first votes – that for mayor and mayor pro temp.
For the Hometown Headlines contributors: From our website and newscast tipsters to Natalie, Dana, Mills, Todd, Ryan, Helen and a whole bunch more. We couldn’t do this each day with their help and your help. This has certainly been a year of change and we’re better for it.
And we’re thankful for a few days off. Well, not exactly off but we’ll be spending more time with family and friends now through the weekend. We’ll have continuing critical updates but no newscasts on Thursday or Friday.
Have a great Thankgiving weekend in Northwest Georgia.