Committee discusses Ridgeferry Park pavilion renovations, who should control rentals

Tuesday, May 2, 2023–12:35 p.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

An announcement regarding construction work on the pavilion at Ridgeferry Park turned into a broader discussion about who should be in charge of renting the facility during Tuesday’s Rome-Floyd Joint Services Committee meeting.

ECO Center Director Ben Winkleman told the committee that the site plans are in, and the pavilion may become a construction zone pretty quickly.

“It’s going to be an awkward deal if somebody has called rec. to rent it and it’s roped off with construction going on,” he said. “That whole pavilion top is rotted and it needs to be done.”

Under the current recreation agreement, the county has control of parks and recreation, which includes the pavilion. Parks and Recreation has the master calendar and is responsible for leasing it out. However, according to Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord, there is some overlap between park events and events at the ECO Center.

“Everybody in this community wants people to utilize the facility,” McCord said. “We want local schools and out-of-county schools to use it. We just have to figure out the mechanism for who is holding the master calendar, who is cleaning the bathrooms, and who is accounting for it. We can work that out.”

McCord said he and Rome City Manager Sammy Rich discussed the issue a couple of months ago.

“We just need to formally take action to move it from the recreation agreement, if that’s what both commissions want to do,” McCord added. “It’s not that complicated, but somebody needs to take it and it needs to be in writing. It’s that simple.”

The pavilion and ECO Center are owned by the city.

“They can take the whole park out if they want to, as long as both sides agree to it,” McCord said. “When the agreement was written the ECO Center was not active, and when the agreement was renewed in 2014, it was active but not at the level that it is today.”

The renovations to the pavilion are set to get underway either this month or next month. They are being funded by the 2017 special purpose, local option sales tax.

Winkleman agreed with McCord that he wants to see everyone use the facility.

“I have no plans to take it over and tell the farmer’s market to go find somewhere else,” he said. “I’ll be happy to work with whatever has been set up. It’s just a logistics problem.”

The committee agreed to move forward and present some sort of proposal to the full Rome City and Floyd County Commissions.

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