“I’m already being pushed to do another one,” Downtown Development Authority Director Ann Arnold said at Thursday’s DDA meeting.
“If your doors were open, you were busy,” chimed in DDA Chairman Steven McDowell, who also operates Old Havana Cigar Co. on Broad Street.
“Bringing it to the front door of the businesses, we know that they’re going to get a direct benefit,” Arnold said.
Other than a surprising amount of trash that was left on the street by partygoers, Arnold said the event was a successful experiment. Even the trash
was cleaned up by 3 a.m. Saturday, and people coming to Broad Street on Saturday morning would have never known anything happened Friday night.
Arnold said activity started to die down after 10 p.m., and future events might be timed to coincide with the more traditional First Friday hours of 7 to 10 p.m.
City Commissioner Bill Collins suggested for future events that a greater diversity of entertainment be considered, including African-American and Latino bands.
Rome’s Downtown Development Authority, meanwhile, has approved a $5,000 grant for owners of Ford, Gittings & Kane Jewelers, 310 Broad St., to assist with repairs to an exterior wall and roof that were left exposed by demolition of the old Top Hat and Bible Book Store buildings.
During the demolition of the business at the corner of Third Avenue and Broad Street, it was discovered that Ford, Gittings & Kane, Southeast Gas and the Bible Book Store all shared a common roof and that the wall between FG&K and the Southeast Gas business was really an interior wall and not an exterior wall.
“I imagine that was a big surprise,” said DDA member Steve White.
DDA Design Committee chairwoman Ann Pullen told the authority that the total budget for the project was $18,500.
A three-hour parking limit was established Thursday morning for the estimated 42-space parking lot that will replace the demolished property at Third Avenue and Broad Street.
Parking management Director Becky Smyth said that she has received seven commitments from downtown businesses to make contributions that will make the parking lot free for customers of downtown businesses. She’s hoping to get at least a dozen contributions.
“The free parking will be tremendously beneficial to restaurants and retailers in the 300 and 400 blocks,” said board member Alice Herring.
The DDA board also approved a second $500 grant for the Dancing Flower street sculpture project, which will take place at Fifth Avenue and Broad Street. The project, designed, as a memorial to the late Mickey Dobbs, former director of Keep Rome-Floyd Beautiful, is still about $2,000 short of its fundraising goal.
The flower sculpture will be eight feet tall with petals large enough for people to sit on.