From earlier on June 14, 2012
Broad Street from Eighth Avenue to Second Avenue, and Second Avenue from Broad Street to the levee will be shut down for nearly two hours Saturday as Rome hosts the Georgia Honors Iraq War Veterans parade.
Lt. Roy Willingham of the Rome Police Department said he expects to shut down traffic at 10:40 a.m. The parade is formally slated to begin at 11 a.m., but a hundred or more motorcycles will begin movement down Broad Street at 10:50 a.m.
Willingham estimated that the downtown streets would be shut down until about 12:30 p.m.
“If it’s as big as they say it’s going to be,” Willingham said, “but military units might move a little faster than the Christmas Parade.”
As the motorcycles purr down the street, two aerial teams — one a local TigerFlight group, the other a precision Navy team — will roar overhead right at 11 a.m. to signal the official start of the parade.
The parade starts at the intersection of East Eight Avenue and East First Street, with units lined up along Glenn Milner Boulevard. The parade will make a left turn on Broad, then go to Second Avenue and make a right turn.
At that point walking units will then make a right turn on Second and head directly into The Forum. Floats will go across the Oostanaula River and make a left turn through the levee where they will be parked. Shuttle buses will carry the float participants back and forth to The Forum.
Robert Blumberg, owner of Johnny’s New York Style Pizza, 233 Broad St., didn’t realize the parade would actually be coming down his side of Broad Street.
“Even with the Christmas Parade (on the other side of Broad) our outdoor tables were full anyhow, so they’ll be full for this parade,” Blumberg said.
He said business is usually good before and after the Christmas Parade, so he’s looking for a heavier-than-normal Saturday.
“We’ve put an extra server on, so we should be staffed for it. Hopefully we can honor the vets,” said Blumberg, who noted that he will have special signs and flags outside to help shape a patriotic atmosphere.
Brian Lieberman, Lieberman Family Chiropractic, 421 Broad St., was completely unaware of the parade. He typically takes patients until noon on Saturday and said he would try to shuffle appointments to get people in before Broad Street is shut down.
“Nice, very nice,” Lieberman said in response to news of the flyover that would kick off the parade. “It’s good for downtown, it’s good for Rome, and obviously this is an important one. I like stuff that promotes downtown. People should come down and see it; that only helps all of us in the long run.”
Geri Cheeley, owner of The Clotheshorse, 419 Broad St., just redecorated her display window with a lot of red, white and blue.
“I always try to decorate the window for what’s going on downtown,” Cheeley said. “We’re happy to have everybody here visiting, and they are more than welcome to come in.”
She confessed, however, that she didn’t really know a parade was scheduled for this Saturday.
Jay Shell, owner of 333 on Broad, said a typical parade complaint he hears from downtown merchants involves people coming
in to use restrooms inside the businesses.
“If it’s somebody coming through the door maybe they’ll come through, see the atmosphere and come back and eat dinner with us the next week,” Shell said. “I’ve been promoting the parade on my Facebook page for the last couple of weeks. We’re going to bring in some additional staff. Hopefully we’ll generate some extra business downtown.”