Rome City Commission celebrates Black history, tables alcohol variance requests

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023–7:37 a.m.

John Bailey, Rome News-Tribune-

City Commissioners celebrated Rome’s Black history and leaders, those who are still with us, and those who have passed into history.

Commissioner Bonny Askew honored the memory of Greg Shropshire as part of a Black History Month ceremony during the Monday meeting. Askew read a proclamation recognizing the community leader and longtime educator. Shropshire left behind a long list of locals that he mentored when he passed in 2022 in a fatal wreck.

As part of a list of trailblazers in the community, commissioners honored Napoleon Fielder, Rome’s first Black city commissioner. Fielder was appointed to the board in 1980 and then elected. He resigned in 2002 after serving for 22 years.

Commissioners Bill Collins and Jamie Doss remembered serving with Fielder and said he was their mentor.

“He could say a lot without saying a lot,” Doss said, adding Fielder’s iconic motto: “Working together works.”

Fielder’s family was in attendance during the packed city commission meeting.

Commissioner Elaina Beeman said there have been seven other African Americans appointed or elected to this commission. They then honored the others: Duane Reid, Milton Slack III, Detrick Redding, and the current commissioners Bonny Askew, Sundai Stevenson, Collins, and Beeman.

In other business, the commission signed off Monday on a settlement with several major companies regarding the opioid crisis.

Defendants Teva, Allergan, Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS have separately reached national settlements totaling roughly $20 billion. Georgia agreed to participate in December, clearing the way for local governments to join as well.

The board also approved a property transfer and accepted on first reading an ordinance that would allow small bars in the city.

In a unanimous vote, the commission transferred 12.6 acres of property at the former GE facility to the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority to market for development.

The commission tabled two liquor variance requests forwarded from the Alcohol Control Commission. Commissioner Craig McDaniel explained that if the small bar ordinances passes at the next meeting, each of the variance requests would be moot.

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