Community hopeful new project will spur growth

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - For nearly 10 years, hundreds of residents have united trying to transform Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from its current state to what they hope it will look like in the future.

"West Broad Street, what MLK was formally known as, was a vibrant residential commercial neighborhood and district, one that rivaled Broughton Street for 70 years with hundreds of businesses," said Lise Sundrla, executive director of Savannah Development and Renewal Authority.

Members of the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority have been crafting a vision for this gateway into Savannah for years. With the groundbreaking for the Caver Commons development, they say more growth is yet to come.

"I think the grocery is going to be a catalyst for this area," said board chair Tony Cooper. "It is going to bring more foot traffic. It is going to bring vehicular traffic as well."

Diaspora Marketplace owner Richard Shinhoster and his family have played a key role in the effort to help revitalize the life of businesses along the midway stretch of MLK.

Shinhoster believes Carver Commons will help jump start the area's growth.

"We depend alot on walking traffic and we think if people come to this bank and walk further along MLK this way we will be able to attract those people," said Shinhoster.

The Interstate 16 flyover at the east end of the interstate is named after his brother earl who grew up in Savannah and went on to become a president of the national NAACP.

"We know that Earl would agree that we should be united and not divided, therefore we asked for the removal of the flyover so that we will unite this corridor and continue the development, " said Shinhoster.

By uniting, this community hopes to attract new development and get their sidewalks bustling once again.

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