published Friday, October 11th, 2013

Rossville looks to revitalize downtown

The Georgia section of Rossville Boulevard is a short couple of blocks stretching from the Tennessee state line and intersecting at McFarland and Chickamauga Avenues. The town is studying ways to revitalize the area.
The Georgia section of Rossville Boulevard is a short couple of blocks stretching from the Tennessee state line and intersecting at McFarland and Chickamauga Avenues. The town is studying ways to revitalize the area.
Photo by Tim Barber.

Rome, Ga.'s, downtown wasn't revitalized in a day — and revitalizing downtown Rossville won't happen overnight.

That's according to Paul Kreager, a University of Georgia Small Business Development Center official who spoke to about 30 people Thursday night at Rossville Civic Center at a community meeting meant to drum up ideas to improve downtown and increase participation in Rossville's Downtown Development Association.

"Rome has been at this now for 34 years," said Kreager, who explained that Rome was Georgia's first city to have a downtown development authority and it didn't really show results until a decade ago.

"It takes time. It's not a quick process," Kreager said.

Kreager went around the room asking for three- to five-word ideas to revitalize downtown that were written with marker on large sheets of paper and stuck to the wall.

"Honor workers of mill," "fill vacant stores," and "more community involvement" were among the roughly 50 ideas.

Then each person in the room got six colored dots to stick on the ideas they liked best.

One man apologized for his idea, which was for the City Council to approve liquor by the drink.

"Can I still eat chili?" he joked, wondering if he was allowed to eat the meal prepared by the Rossville Seniors.

Allowing liquor by the drink is the only way Rossville can bring in better restaurants, another man said, also apologetically.

But both those ideas -- and bringing a brewpub to town -- made it in the top 10 ideas, which were as follows: create attractive events, revitalize mill area, preapprove liquor ordinance, activities for children, small business development, beautification, microbrewery and a good restaurant, community cleanup, liquor by the drink.

Rossville Downtown Development Association Director Bobby McNabb also announced that the Hardee's in the city will be leveled and replaced with a state-of-the-art new Hardee's by March of next year.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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