For Immediate Release
Date: October 17, 2013
Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter unveiled to City Council on Thursday a comprehensive vision for the site of the proposed new arena and surrounding Canal District. The plan to redevelop the Canal District to the west of West Boundary Street presents an opportunity to create a vibrant new center of activity in Savannah’s core, integrally connected with multi-modal transportation network serving pedestrians, cyclists, automobiles and rail transit.
In November, voters will be asked to renew the existing 1% Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for a six-year period. Included in the SPLOST proposal is up to $120 million for a new arena. The site chosen for the proposed new arena represents one of the most accessible sites in Chatham County, located a short distance from entrances onto Interstate 16, Interstate 516 and the Talmadge Bridge, and exactly 1 mile from Forsyth Park.
“There is a difference between a site and a vision,” said District 1 Alderman Van R. Johnson II. “The site is where the arena will be located, and the vision is the connectivity you’ve presented here.”
The presentation, which is attached, lays out a unified vision utilizing publicly owned assets, such as the historic ornate bridges of the Central of Georgia Railroad and the Ogeechee and Springfield Canal, and significant vacant City-owned property in the area, which would create a system of parks, trails and complete streets to create one of the most memorable parts of Savannah.
Chatham Area Transit has outlined a desire to extend a streetcar network through the Canal District, linking the arena to River Street. Greenways along existing historic canals, and a redeveloped Gwinnett Street would create new pedestrian corridors to the nearby Historic District, which begins at West Boundary Street, less than half a mile away.
“This is the next opportunity to say, ‘Wow, something exciting is happening in the City of Savannah,’” said Alderman at Large Tom Bordeaux.