SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - City of Savannah leaders started talks Wednesday night about reworking how special events come to the Coastal Empire.
Savannah is a popular destination for festivals, runs, weddings, and films, but every event impacts local homeowners and business owners differently.
More than 100 residents and city workers attended a public forum, putting their heads together to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
In the past, almost all events requesting a city permit, excluding film projects, were labeled as parades, even the Rock N' Roll Savannah Marathon and food truck festivals. Also, there are not set grounds of accepting or denying permits for special events. According to Susan Broker, the Director of the City’s Special Events, Film and Tourism office, said they need this new ordinance to change that.
“With this ordinance in place, we will have something in place to control clean-up, notification, public safety and giving back to our community,” Broker said.
City officials were not the only ones suggesting new ideas. Citizens asked questions and raised concerns like a dialysis center forced to close every year for the Rock N' Roll Marathon. Visit Savannah President, Joseph Marinelli, said it was progress for the process.
“The impact on her business and having to be closed has to be looked at," Marinelli said. "And I immediately saw a representative with the Savannah Police Department go over and talk to her, and say, ‘let’s get together and find a solution.’”
Most residents seemed pleased with the suggested changes like adding a web-accessible and comprehensive calendar of every event across Savannah. Local runner and fleet feet owner, Mike Nadeau, said this will only improve races in Savannah.
“I don’t think that’s a deterrence," Nadeau said. "I think that’s a ‘hey, this must be a great place to come race, because the people care deeply about their city and we need to come in here and treat it with respect and leave it better than we found it,’ so I think it’s a really good thing.”
If you missed Wednesday night’s meeting you can submit an online survey with the City of Savannah here.