By: Laura-Jane Hatcher (WRGA News)
The Rome City Commission extended a memorandum of understanding between the city and Riverside Partners, LLC. Monday night, which could bring a new shopping center to Riverside Parkway.
The group first entered into the agreement with the city in April of 2007 in hopes of developing a large retail center located in the city-owned property in-front of Ridge Ferry Park. This is their third extension, with their second to expire in December. The new agreement will tide the developers over until 2014, but comes with the stipulation that the city retain rights to all of the timber on the property upon development.
It passed easily in the commission, with only one ‘no.’ Commissioner Sue Lee, who has voted against the agreement twice now, said there are other, more appropriate places in Rome for a shopping center.
“50 years from now or even less, we’re going to look back and say, ‘wish we hadn’t done that. Wish we still had those trees and that green space where we could have a recreational facility,’” She said, “That has been my feeling all along. I have lived here all my life; I grew up in that area. Once you put something under concrete, it’s gone. You don’t get that back.”
She admitted she would feel differently if it were the only place the retail center could go. In the meantime, the site has remained relatively untouched, as developers have been tied up in environmental studies.