The sudden dropping of the planned Phase Two of the Etowah Terrace project — 52 units of sorely needed modern space for families plus an improved grocery store location — by the South Rome Redevelopment Corp. and Mercy Housing Southeast was unexpected given their successful track record. Apparently the Georgia Department of Community Affairs wouldn’t assist because of the retailing aspect plus “some unknown environmental issues” at the former McCall Hospital location on South Broad Street.
Huh? What’s that? Until quite recently quite a few people were living there and over the years a ton of folks. Now people can’t live there because of environmental concerns?
The redevelopment group indicates it will, instead of knocking down red-tape walls, focus on the scattered 20 single-family sites it owns in the area. That’s not the same thing as regards impact.
South Rome, thanks to millions of dollars in public investment or backing, was approaching the “tipping point” to escape its old slummy neighborhood status. The new Anna K. Davie Elementary School is even now in the pipeline. But then ... nothing? The major, major improvements made would, in better times, have already brought in private investment dollars. Not now, and stopping too soon with the “big push” may put the whole plan at risk.
If spirits, enthusiasm and energy are not soon revived what will result could be much like those misguided South Broad sidewalk improvements: ugly telephone poles next to historic-appearing lamplights. All that effort, all that money ... does anybody really want this close-in downtown neighborhood to wind up looking like that?