Newsletter: Sumo to give way to Sparrow Pointe, a 55-plus community of 50 residences. Gas prices drop — but for how long? Floyd GOP vs. city elections?

Newsletter: Sumo to give way to Sparrow Pointe, a 55-plus community of 50 residences. Gas prices drop — but for how long? Floyd GOP vs. city elections?

For more than 30 years, Sumo Japanese Restaurant operated up the hill from Martha Berry. Rome News-Tribune file photo.


Look for work to begin later this year on Sparrow Pointe, a 55-plus “age restricted” community on the site that is home to the now-closed Sumo Japanese Restaurant. Birdsong Housing Partners. of Maitland, Fla., plans 50 residences on the site.

“Construction is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter 2022, with substantial completion anticipated for mid-2024,” writes Melanie Greenwood, vice president of development programs for Birdsong Housing Partners.

This is different from plans reviewed two years ago for another group that called for up to 80 residences for those 55 and older. The sale on the property off Martha Berry closed latest Friday. Jimmy Byars of Hardy Realty was the agent.

Click here to see some of the developers other communities.

Trends to watch:

  • This is the latest change for the Martha Berry corridor, the first being The Point and related enhancements planned on the highway stretching to Fifth Avenue. The mixed-use site sold last year and includes the former Relax Inn and adjoining property. We continue to watch for demolition to begin.
  • Sparrow Pointe brings in more housing targeting those 55 and over, as Rome/Floyd County continues to court older residents seeking downsized living in an affordable community. The largest project to date is the continuing care campus of The Spires at Berry College. charts gas prices for the past 12 months in Georgia (blue), the U.S. (red) and Canada (green). Notice the parallels in price increases outside the country.


Gas prices dropping but could see holiday weekend increase: “Georgia gas prices remain unchanged compared to a week ago. Georgia motorists continue to pay an average price of $3.71 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. Monday’s state average is 18 cents less than a month ago, and $1.01 more than this time last year,” reports AAA. It cost $55.65 to fill a 15-gallon tank.

“Georgia statewide pump price averages have managed to hold steady for the past few weeks,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA spokeswoman. “Unfortunately, we can’t predict how long gas prices will remain under $4 dollars for Georgians. But, should anticipate price fluctuations at the pump in the lead up to Memorial Day Weekend.”

With prices in the $3.65 range in Northwest Georgia, we got a fill-up at the Speedway in Cartersville at $3.37 a gallon on Sunday.

What’s on our radar: Keep an eye on the regional hospital site and the opposition from the Summerville Park neighborhood. Talks are continuing over the bid for heavy industrial zoning there… Farewell to a friend: Sunday afternoon was reserved for the calling hours and memorial service for Dr. Larry Atwell at First Baptist Church in Rome. Those gathered to pay their respects were some of the community’s most familiar names: Willis Potts, John Bennett, Evie McNiece, Dr. Gary Voccio, Wright Bagby, Jan Ferguson (who shared a few quips about her father, Warren Jones, and his ties to Dr. Atwell) and hundreds more. Calling hours started at 1:30 p.m. and the line was out of the door until the start of the  memorial… Meet the new boss: We’re expecting the fourth general manager in the Rome Braves’ 20 years here to be named this week or next. With the team now owned Diamond Baseball Holdings — outside the Atlanta Braves’ system — the choice will be different from the past. Mike Dunn was the “founding” and long-term executive followed by Jim Bishop and then David Cross.


The current nine members of the Rome City Commission, under the control of the ‘radical Democrats’ in the eyes of the Floyd County Republican Party.


Floyd GOP takes aim at Rome municpial elections: As a rule, we ignore “referendums” that clutter valid ballots as they usually amount to more of an expression of an opinion by either political party vs. a true test of the community’s resolve. The latest example is “Question 9” on the Floyd County ballot. The Floyd County Republican Party is spreading emails, urging a yes vote on Question 9 (GOP ballot only).

It reads: Do you support changing City Commission elections to require each candidate to run for a specific post as opposed to the current system where the top three vote-getters within a ward become commissioners?

What has our local GOP so upset? “Currently, because of the confusing and complicated way we elect commissioners, the Radical Democrats have a majority on the Rome City Commission — we cannot allow this to continue. Now is the time to fight for a better, simpler way of electing commissioners.”

City Commission elections are nonpartisan — which means none of the candidates carry a D or R next to their names on the ballot. With three “wards” in the city and three commissioners per ward, the top three vote-getters win the office. The seven-member school board is an at-large vote with the top seven candidates determined by ballots cast in their favor every four years.

We wonder if this has something to do with the 5-4 vote for mayor in January. As part of that vote Sundai Stevenson took her first term as mayor.

That vote came as a result of the groomed GOP candidate not making the cut and Craig McDaniel became one of the very few one term mayors in Rome City Commission history.

Or perhaps it is tied to recent talk of the city of Rome establishing its own elections office as opposed to hiring the county board of elections to manage the biannual city voting. The idea follows the politicization of the Floyd County Board of Elections.

The elections board currently consists of two people nominated by the local GOP, two people nominated by the local Dem party and a third Republican who was nominated by the county commission.

Whatever the outcome of Question 9 on May 24, the vote has no impact and we doubt there’s enough clout to begin the task of amending the city charter. The Democratic ballot has 10 questions on separate matters (voting, healthcare).

Signs, signs, almost everywhere a sign: On your travels around town this week, stalk the homes of some of the notables in the Rome City and Floyd County school systems. See who is, and isn’t, flashing a sign in support of the extra-penny sales tax for education, a five-year, $130 million revenue source for both public school systems. “Executive” sign crews (our term) were out last week, ensuring key spots had signs. We did a little drive-by journalism recently and indeed spotted a sign in the front yard of a supeintendent of schools as well as a championship-winning football coach. The under current we’re hearing is the push is on in the areas outside the city with an assumption a clear majority of Rome voters will say yes to funding a replacement middle school. With that many extra pennies involved, we wouldn’t assume anything.

PEAKS & VALLEYS: The highs and lows of Northwest Georgia.

Deputy Jimmy Allred, with Carol Willis, vice president of Floyd Against Drugs, at the breast center collections site on Saturday. Contributed photo.


Peak to Floyd Against Drugs and all the “take back” prescription partners: At two spots last Saturday, crews were staffing locations to receive old or no longer needed medical prescriptions in Rome. Some 136 pounds of meds were collected on Saturday and picked up by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration on Monday. Atrium Health Floyd, the sheriff’s office and the Floyd County Police Department partnered to help with collections.

Valley to the loss of the original Pick O’Deli and Sumo’s. We understand progress and we understand location. The Sumo’s site high above Martha Berry is too good of a location to ingore. Likewise, the “new” Pick O’Deli is sizzling on Riverside Parkway so was the previously announced plans to build a new one at the Dean Avenue location really necessary? Regardless, both will be missed. It wasn’t that long ago that Sumo was “the place” for Valentine’s dinner or other special occasions. Heck, the original Pick O’ Deli was home to our first business lunch in Rome almost 20 years ago.

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