By: Kevin Karel (WRGA News)
Other than some brief fireworks there was little to glean from the ongoing City Center-Burwell Creek project at Wednesday’s Rome Redevelopment Committee meeting as representatives for Ledbetter Properties and CRBI continue to find middle ground elusive.
Expectations were that Wednesday’s meeting would bring the project closer to a resolution as each side was previously told to work toward compromise. Ledbetter is attempting to first cap a former Rome landfill before building a retail shopping center at the expense of several acres of wetlands.
CRBI Executive Director Joe Cook was eventually told to stop talking by Redevelopment Committee Chairman Kim Canada after making what was perceived by several officials as a threat. Canada says Cook’s behavior was nothing new;
“It just kind of blows the whole mood to me. I just don’t personally feel like that…I’m not saying CRBI and the group itself is not willing to work with the Ledbetters or work with the city and trust the city and what we’re doing…I just feel like Joe Cook has no intention of being a team player with this project based on what I’ve seen every time at the end of a meeting with him.”
Prior to his forced silence Cook asked the committee to take a greater role in facilitating a compromise between the parties and requested Ledbetter find a different footprint for the project, an idea deemed a “non-starter” by COO Wright Ledbetter who told the committee his company would be forced to “start over” in regards to much of their work on the City Center.
In other news from the meeting Rome City Manager John Bennett gave a brief update about the West 3rd Street project, saying they expect to break ground in late October or early November.
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