Developers salivated when they saw the in-town wooded acres along Horseleg Creek. But for the “hundred-year-eyes of Mac Marshall, Lewis Lipps, Phillip Greear, Robert Weed, Wilson Hall, Elizabeth and Bernard Neal, Margie Harbin and others, this beautiful unban forest would be gone.
When Lam Theaters decided to close the Desoto Theater, that treasure could have been lost, like the First Avenue Theater before it, or even more tragically the magnificent Nevin Opera House. But the folks involved in the Rome Little Theatre went way out on a financial limb and bought it to use for our community live theater. What a blessing to Rome the Desoto has been for another half century now! All thanks to the “hundred-year-eyes” of people like Kathy Greear, Norris Gamble, Sidney Guy Johnston, Joel Jones, Mary Doster, Virginia McChesney, and many others.
Martha Berry had “hundred-year-eyes” when she saw opportunities to buy up land around what had been her father’s estate to add to her little school’s holding. Wise use of those lands has helped to make Berry one of the best and most beautiful campuses in the world, and provided a laboratory for the environmental program rated among the two bets in the world. And her foresight helped make Rome an appealing location for businesses.
Here is what is left of our "Duck Pond" with the Burwell Creek wetland to the left and Jackson Hill in the background.
The tracks of many different species of wildlike are captured in the drying mud of what was once our little Duck Pond at the intersection of Turner McCall and Riverside Parkway.
Next Monday the folks we elected to the Rome City Commission will discuss again whether to sell our beautiful downtown greenspace/wetland/duckpond/beaver-fox-deer-salamnder-crawdad-dragonfly-great-blue-heron-etc-habitat so that a private developer can bulldose it, haul in umpteen yards of fill material, and put up a group of apartments and a strip mall. This gorgeous property, that belongs to us, may be taken from our children and grandchildren, if you and I remain silent. I won’t. We have a beautiful city. It is a magnet to businesses that want an environment attractive to their employees and themselves. Let’s keep it. Let’s make it even better than we found it.
Here is contact information for our commissioners:
Bill Irmscher 706-234-6555 firstname.lastname@example.org
Milton Slack 706-291-6811 email@example.com
Buzz Wachsteter 706-291-0678 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Doss 706-295-4008 email@example.com
Bill Collins 706-291-0208 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Canada 706-291-7844 email@example.com
Evie McNiece 706-237-6070 firstname.lastname@example.org
We already have the public support of:
Sue Lee 706-235-2067 email@example.com
Wendy Davis firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-290-0606
I have a simple but difficult requirement of the men and women you see pictured here. I ask them to have eyes for more than the here and now, more than the current bottom line, more than the immediate jobs and possible future tax revenues. (What percentage of those jobs and what percentage of those taxes can come from other new development or increased sales at current businesses?) I ask our public servants to have hundred-year-eyes. I want them to think of the Romans of 2115 every time they cast a vote. The decisions we make in 2015 will affect the lives of others besides ourselves. I believe the citizens of a hundred years from now will thank us for preserving a great “central park”. Imagine that beautiful wetland with boardwalks and trails and interpretive signage. Imagine the hiking and biking trails continuous from our wonderful Jackson Hill though this greenspace and on to the Riverwalk and thence to Silver Creek in one direction, State Mutual Stadium in another, and Berry’s trails in another.
The lushness of the plants in the wetland itself make a verdant wonderland.
The fall wildflowers were dazling last week -- purple ironweed, yellow wild sunflowers, and several clouds of mixed white blooms.
Such a park system will bring new business, new residents, and new prosperity to Rome and Floyd County to surpass the proposed building project many tmes over. Let’s preserve this wetland and greenspace as part of a great Central Park for our children and grandchildren, and all the future citizens of our beautiful city.