This letter was submitted by Jeanne Cahill. It directly regards the planning of a housing development on the Etowah river which would greatly effect all of downtown Rome, especially South Rome.
The citizens of
have much to be proud of—hills, rolling terrain, beautiful rivers, and leaders that have the best interests of the city and her residents at heart. I love my adopted city; my husband and I moved here five years ago and have never regretted our retirement decision. Our two sons have also now made Rome
their home, one in South Rome, one on a farm in west
The rivers played a significant role in our choosing this area, and they are the envy of cities across this land that would give anything for just one river. However, I am puzzled why we treat such a valuable asset badly through hasty or unexamined decisions.
Of particular concern is the recent vote to support the Etowah Terrace huge, multi-story, tax subsidized, rental, multi-housing project. The speed with which this project is being pushed does not allow careful deliberation; this is particularly true of the impact on area traffic. If you have traversed the South Broad bridge during periods of heavy traffic, you are aware of the fact that a bottleneck already occurs with great frequency. The requirement that 70 of the 77 units in phase one be subsidized housing with low income limits means the residents will primarily be the working poor, most of whom will need to
cross that bridge to reach their jobs. How, in good conscience, can such a decision be made without obtaining a professional traffic impact study?
The history of subsidized housing is poor with most such projects falling into disrepair after a number of years and the prospect of that happening along the river across from our valued and valuable Myrtle Hill cemetery is unthinkable. A quick decision, exacerbated by a weak economy, could leave
with a troubling eyesore in years to come in a location that should be inviting and beautiful for future generations and visitors to the area. There are other, more suitable locations for the development in question such as nearer the health department where low income residents would be entitled to services.
The 70 apartments housing tax-subsidized tenants will provide little benefit to the downtown businesses. Those tenants need a drug store and grocery much more than they need a white table cloth restaurant, jewelry store, or gift shop.
Further, an area that once produced tax revenue will leave the tax roles indefinitely not to mention the money the city has already invested plus the anticipated half a million dollars in site improvement. Can someone explain to me how this benefits any of the tax payers of
, especially those in
that will be most adversely affected by this project. And, I don’t think it will be easy to support the idea that the riverfront, distant from needed services, is the best location for “senior” housing.
Please give this project your most careful deliberation because your decision will have what I believe to be a dangerous precedent impacting
for decades to come. I urge you to withdraw support for the Etowah Terrace housing project by Mercy Housing, a non-profit organization with an extremely poor rating in comparison with similar organizations at the independent CharityNavigator website where it receives only one star out of a potential four stars.
411 E. 3rd Street
7 Lookout Avenue
706-378-9632 or 404-918-8405