Kayaks Sink, City Center Floats

Rome News-Tribune Blog Feb. 17, 2013

The huge City Center project may not yet be a sure thing — as the new Marriott hotel on West Third Street appears to be — but it appears that the kayak armada of the Coosa River Basin Initiative won’t try to stop 300,000 square feet of retail space, perhaps 1,000 new jobs and the arrival of shopping variety that many Greater Romans have long hoped for.

It’s not that Joe Cook, the CRBI executive director, has thrown in the paddle. It is that he now believes he was misunderstood, particularly at the last City Commission gathering on this issue where he drew fire for “extortion” when signaling a position of the CRBI’s way or the lawsuit way.

Actually, Cook has now clarified, the group wants to work with Ledbetter Properties to retain both the huge project and some of the “topographical features” on the city-owned 60 acres that were once largely used as a landfill. Clearly the “floodplain” portion used to float the kayak armada about once every two years can’t be included and the notion of the acreage being used for nothing but added parkland is gone.

Moreover the Ledbetters — themselves native sons of Greater Rome and hardly slash-and-burn outside invaders — have a record of meeting objections as best they can to preserve project viability and potential profits. They have already completely redesigned this project’s layout once (including retaining the contours of controversial Burwell Creek) to meet city desires to have City Center be better integrated with both community facilities and parklands next door.

This is a positive development for the local economy. Perhaps City Center and the Marriott can have a race to see which can be opened first.

Read more: RN-T.com - FRIDAY BLOG Kayaks sink City Center floats 

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