State Rep. Trey Kelley, R-16th district, pledged his support to continued business growth in Polk County during a meeting of the Rockmart Business Alliance.
Kelley said he serves “all the people” and is pleased to see an emphasis on business expansion and growth by local leaders. He was greeted by Sherman Ross, Rockmart city council member, and remained for a brief session of event planning.
Ross gave an update on the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH). He said the three-year program of collaboration and technical assistance is related to housing and local development.
“We are still in the initial planning stages,” he said.
Denise Bell, RBA member, asked, “What can we do to support local efforts?”
Ross encouraged the group to help keep the downtown and other areas of Rockmart clean.
He said city officials continue to address local housing needs for Rockmart citizens. Ross referenced recent approval of ordinances to improve conditions brought about by vacant and abandoned properties identified as dangerous or unsafe.
During the meeting, Laura Bates gave an update on plans for participation in the Main Street Program.
Main Street is defined as a national movement that has spanned three decades and taken root in more than 2,000 communities – a movement that has spurred $56 billion in reinvestment in traditional commercial districts, galvanized thousands of volunteers, and changed the way governments, planners, and developers view preservation.
Over the past 34 years, the National Main Street Center has overseen the development of a national network of 46 coordinating programs. The programs help cities, towns, and villages revitalize their downtown and neighborhood business districts utilizing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®.
The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a unique preservation-based organizing framework of good Design, Economic Development, Organization and Promotional practices that enable communities to revitalize downtown and neighborhood business districts by leveraging local assets.
Bates said plans are to launch the program during 2016 following initial planning strategies.
The group also reviewed the fall calendar of events with emphasis on the Festival of Treats scheduled for Halloween on Oct. 31, 2015.
During 2014, this event brought children dressed in favorite costumes to the downtown fun center along Marble Street.
Activities are scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m., but some youngsters may arrive earlier. Accompanied by adults, parents and family members, they bring baskets, buckets and other containers to be filled with treats by local merchants.
Jeri Purdy has assumed the leadership role for this event and plans to mark off spaces where games will be set up. Businesses are encouraged to participate. Those taking part are asked to sponsor a game for the kids and to give some type of wrapped candy to the little ghosts and goblins.
A costume contest for kids aged 0 to 11 highlights the event around 6:30 p.m. It is usually held on the steps of the building housing the Polk County Chamber of Commerce and Rockmart Historical Museum. First, second and third place winners are recognized.
The 2015 sponsor will be Liberty Tax of Rockmart, according to Barbara Cuzzort and Ralph Lowther.
A pet contest, traditionally hosted by Precious Paws, will be included. This event usually begins at 5:30 p.m. and is held on South Marble Street.
RBA members also discussed plans for the “Holiday Open House”, which will be held in November.
Stores will remain open until 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8. The following stores have agreed to participate: What’s New Consignment, Queen Bee, The Puddle Duck, The Perch, Living Lovely, Smith Lockwood, J & L Discount, Rockmart Florist and Morgan Hardware. Others may be added before the scheduled event date.
The next RBA meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, in the Theatre Building on Elm Street.