Youth center SPLOST funding can move forward

Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2023–10:00 a.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

It appears as though the city can move forward on a request regarding special purpose, location option sales tax funds for a youth center in North Rome.

Terri Mayes, executive director of the North Broad Youth Center, is asking that 2017 SPLOST funds designated for a playground and/or recreation facilities to still be used although the center has changed locations.

Rome City Manager Sammy Rich recently updated the redevelopment committee after discussing the matter with legal counsel. Attorney John Hawkins has rendered an opinion based in large part on Georgia case law, including a case in Rome, Dickey v. Storey from 1992, which centered on the use of SPLOST funds to construct the Forum. The legal opinion said that the city money can still be used for the project.

“We are just basically tweaking the project and not trying to abandon or grossly change it, it’s still going to be a facility that’s going to have youth recreation and playground-style equipment,” Rich said. “It’s just going to be on a parcel a little farther to the north. So, in this case, it’s a pretty low lift. We’ll have to work out some logistics of property transfers, so I’ll be working on that in the next couple of weeks.”

The youth center, which was located former Jennings Funeral Home on North Broad Street, shut down during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and was facing being closed down again after mold was found under the building and two air conditioning units went out.

Instead of closing down, the board decided would move the youth center to the church at 1601 North Broad, across from Dollar General. The church then purchased properties next door at 1701 and 1702 North Broad for a possible future expansion.

“With the church having to house North Broad Youth Center, the perfect location for the park would be 1702, right next door,” Mayes said during a previous meeting. “We are willing to donate a portion of the property to the city, so the park can remain on North Broad Street. It’ll just go down a couple of blocks.”

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