Banty Jones Park final concept unveiled

Thursday, Apr. 27, 2023–11:18 a.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

Members of the Rome Community Redevelopment Committee got their first look at the new final concept plan for upgrades at Banty Jones Park on Wednesday.

Plans for the renovations have been in the works for some time and the city hired TSW following a procurement process in November. TSW then came up with two concepts and city staff took the best elements from each to come up with the final plan. A meeting with Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation is set for May to discuss the final concept, which includes open-air pavilions, a stage with seating for small performances, a grilling and picnic area, playgrounds, a game area for horseshoes and corn hole, a workout area with fitness equipment, swing benches, a boardwalk, and even an area for food trucks.

Of course, the main feature will be a central plaza with a splash pad.

According to Rome Community Development Director Bekki Fox, the cost for the entire design is estimated at around $4.2. million that will be paid for with several years of Community Development Block Grant funds, as we as city funds through the America Rescue Plan Act and Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant funds through the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority. Another $2 million has been applied for through the State of Georgia.

“If we don’t get the state funding, then we will be back to having to pick and choose which elements we can go ahead and implement,” Fox said. “It will most likely have to be some type of phased construction. We are looking at cost-saving efforts now where the city can order some of the elopements tax-exempt, at a lower cost. There are some concrete work and different things that the city or parks and recreation can do to get those costs down.”

The money being used for the project cannot be used anywhere else in the City of Rome. They are restricted funds that must be used for specific census tracts.

Rome City Commission Jamie Doss, who serves on the committee, told Fox that he hopes that Banty Jones could become more of a community park instead of just a neighborhood park once the improvements are made.

“The success of this park hinges on it being a community park,” he said.

The next step is to take the final concept and move into the design development phase.

“That’s what TSW will be working on now,” Fox told the committee. “They’ll start refining the plan with the spatial relationships to the elements that they have listed. They’ll work closely with their civil engineers on stormwater and utilities to make sure they are synching infrastructure needs with their design. They’ll flush out a rough order of magnitude and cost for us to get a better understanding of the construction costs. Right now, it’s all an estimate.”

According to Fox, they hope to put the project out to bid by this August or September and then break ground by the end of this year. They are eyeing a completion date in the spring of 2024.

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