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Civic Center Redevelopment—Residents Must Have a Voice

From the President:


Recently there has been a lot of publicity, discussion, and rumors about the redevelopment of the land where the Civic Center is located. This redevelopment, once started, would be one of the largest projects in the National Historic Landmark District in many years. As you can imagine, there has been much discussion as to what would be included, eliminated, and how best to move forward.


In 2018, the then Mayor and City Council had the Urban Land Institute (ULI) conduct a study of possible future use of this land. The ULI recommendation was for the reestablishment of the Oglethorpe Plan along with the inclusion of small commercial and residential development. No large hotels were to be included. The full ULI report can be found here. This plan was also presented to the then City Council on June 6, 2019 and was approved by them. The Council presentation can be found here. Members of the DNA participated in the development of the ULI plan and fully supported its recommendations as you can see in this letter we forwarded to the Mayor and Council on June 3, 2019.


The recent publicity concerning the redevelopment of this land is drastically different from what the ULI report recommended. Reports have included the refurbishment of the Johnny Mercer Theater and the addition of a City Office facing Oglethorpe Ave. Plans being considered by the city can be found here. The DNA Board has not been involved in any recent discussions concerning the future of this land. These recent plans have, apparently, been developed without any input from residents. As a result of these recent plans, the Board sent this letter to the City Manager, Mayor and City Council on June 1 opposing the refurbishment of the Johnny Mercer Theater and the building of a city office building on already congested streets.


I am writing this message so that each of you are aware of what the Board is doing as well as to encourage you to be a voice in the discussion of the redevelopment plans going forward. To ensure that we are also following your ideas for this redevelopment, we will be sending out a member survey for you to complete in the near future.


The Board firmly believes that residents should be included in any discussions concerning this development.



David McDonald

President

Downtown Neighborhood Association Savannah, GA Inc.

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