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Proposed Navigation Center sparks debate in Rome

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - The City of Rome held an informational meeting Tuesday night to discuss several development projects, including changes to some projects already in the works.

The Little Italy Colonade, the Erie Canalway Trail, and improving the look of many of the city's storefronts were discussed, but it's a new proposed navigation center that brought the most debate.

Currently, The City of Rome has a series of grants adding up to almost $1 million to build a center for boaters to stop at at Rome's former Rod Mill site. The space would provide approximately 60 feet of docking, a boat launch and a navigation site with bathrooms and amenities for visitors.

Rome Mayor Joesph Fusco now wants to change the original plan and build a center on the west side of the bridge in Bellamy Harbor Park. He says this would offer more space for boaters and residents to stop and visit and encourage business downtown.

The idea of changing locations started brought a debate between Common Councilor Kim Rogers of the 3rd Ward and Mayor Fusco as well as many concerned residents worried about losing the state's money if the plans change.

"The planning board has done a lot of planning on it and the strategic plan has been in place for a very long time from my understanding," said Rome resident Tony Agnone. "I think once you have a strategic plan, you ought to stick to it, and if there's improvements to be made in the future and you have to change the plan, then that's the time to do it. I don't think the time to do it is in the middle of a project."

While those for and against the new plan do not know for sure if Rome would lose the projects funding by changing locations, many residents like Tony Agnone felt if the city's going to make changes, it should apply for another grant and not risk the one already in place and Rome getting future grants.

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