History of the South Rome Redevelopment Corporation
A Quality Growth Resource Team for the South Rome community was organized in February 2002 through collaboration among the City of Rome, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the Georgia Quality Growth Partnership, a statewide coalition of government agencies, universities, non-profits, and business groups working to provide technical assistance on “smart growth” issues to Georgia communities. The resource team focused its study on a project area that included the entirety of South Rome, bounded by the Etowah and Coosa Rivers to the north and west, Rome city limits to the south, and the Norfolk-Southern railroad line to the east. The multidisciplinary team was made up of specialists in city planning, real estate development, urban design, historic preservation, architecture, resource conservation, and housing. The team spent a week in the project area and conducted facilitated meetings involving a broad cross section of community representatives, designed to give the team members a deeper understanding of development issues and the needs of the South Rome area.
The Quality Growth Resource Team reached the following conclusions:
- South Rome should be a community of thriving, diverse residential neighborhoods, linked together by a shared corridor (South Broad-East Main-Cave Spring Road).
- Sidewalks and trails should be provided or upgraded throughout South Rome to encourage pedestrian/bicycling activity and to strengthen the linkages between neighborhoods.
- Each of the existing neighborhoods should remain primarily single-family residential, and the city should offer assistance where needed to ensure that the more economically distressed neighborhoods become more stable, mixed-income communities with a larger percentage of owner-occupied housing.
- Because neighborhood residents clearly do not want more multi-family housing or commercial development within their neighborhoods, these uses should be located along the corridor of South Broad and East Main streets.
As part of the Quality Growth Resource Team visit, Georgia Tech was asked to formulate a Housing and Policy Analysis for South Rome. The following conclusions were presented in its executive summary: South Rome is made up of a relatively diverse population; a vast majority of SR households reside in renter-occupied, single family dwellings; the housing needs in South Rome are evident; several renters live in housing arrangements deemed crowded by HUD standards and a substantial number are paying a disproportionate share of their income on monthly costs. The report made the following recommendations:
- Investigate opportunities for affordable multi-family housing
- Improve housing quality and choices in the area
- Improve rental opportunities, both quality and quantity, through additional units
- Establish rehabilitation programs
The South Rome Redevelopment Agency (SRRA) was formed at the suggestion of the Quality Growth Resource Team and has been working with the City of Rome, Floyd County, and other community partners to implement the redevelopment of the South Rome community since 2002. In 2004 the SRRA established a non-profit entity, the South Rome Redevelopment Corporation, to help support redevelopment efforts in the community. The redevelopment process has been slow, often difficult to fund, and at times controversial.