The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority got the special-use permits it needed Monday to build two new duplexes in East Rome.

Executive Director Sandra Hudson said the four 1-bedroom homes are part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the community and address the long waiting list for public housing.

The Rome City Commission approved both applications – one at 303 E. 14th Street, and the other on a combined lot at 1312 and 1314 Maple Street.

The Rome-Floyd Planning Commission had recommended denial of the Maple Street duplex, due to the lot’s small size and location on a busy major thoroughfare. However, Hudson and NWGHA Board Chair Lee Hight successfully argued for the need.

“I’ve worked with the Housing Authority for 26 years and that property on Maple Street has been blighted since then ... If you vote no and we can’t do this, who’s going to come behind us to fix it?” Hudson said.

Hight said those Section 8 units would go to elderly or mentally ill adults, noting that there are “hundreds” in Rome and Floyd County who are homeless.

City Commissioner Bill Irmscher cast the lone vote against the Maple Street duplex, saying, “the Housing Authority does admirable work but I support the Planning Commission.” The other seven commissioners and Mayor Bill Collins voted in favor of them both.

Commissioners also approved a rezoning application that returns a former daycare building at 4 Colonial Drive back to residential use.

The board also unanimously approved Urban Mixed Use zoning to allow a restaurant in a vacant building at 401 W. Third St. in the River District.

Also on Monday, City Commissioners presented Joseph Taylor with the city’s Citizenship Award for outstanding service to Rome and Floyd County.

“On June 22, 2019, you put your own safety at risk to assist a (police) officer in need,” Commissioner Milton Slack said.

Rome Police Chief Denise Downer McKinney said an officer was investigating an incident, “when the lady just snapped, grabbed her by the throat and started fighting her.”

The officer was able to call for back-up, but the woman was calling out to a friend on the scene. Taylor saw what was happening and, “in these days, when people don’t want to get involved,” he came in on the side of the officer, McKinney said.

Commissioners also proclaimed the week of July 15-19 as Disability Voter Registration Week in Rome.

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