Not everyone on board with West Bay Street project

By Brooke Kelley - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Senator Lester Jackson is concerned about the safety of West Broad Street. He called a meeting on Wenesday to talk about a major widening project.

The multi-million dollar project has been in the works for years.

The proposed plans include widening West Bay Street from the Dorothy Pelote Viaduct, under the Talmadge Bridge to Lynes Parkway. And also put a median with trees down the middle of street to spruce up the area.

Many attended Wednesday afternoon's heated meeting and not everyone is on board with the plan.

The Moses Jackson Community Center is filled with people who live and work along West Bay Street. They have very strong feelings about the and how it could change the street forever.

Right now, the proposed plan includes buying property to widen Bay Street. Business owners like Donald Dodsworth say he had no idea. "The business owners were not aware of what's going on," Dodsworth told WTOC.

Under the plan, several businesses would be forced to relocate.

"Oh, I am gone after spending millions of dollars advertising and being in business and trying to support my family of three," said Dodsworth.

While many business owners are against the widening project many who live here like Pam Oglesby are all for it.

"There have been several killed on Bay more than anything. There was a public outcry and I hope everybody remembers why they are in this room," said Pam Oglesby.

"We're not safe there and I don't know what part you live on, but I know I am not safe," said Oglesby.

Person after person, people passionately shared their opinion about a project that will have lasting impact on their lives and livelihoods.

It is exactly what Senator Lester Jackson wanted to hear but cautioning them plans can change.

"Engineers change designs all the time-they change designs to suit the public and the neighborhood," said Oglesby.

"We are just going to work with the engineers and work with the community to make sure all are addressed," said Oglesby.

And make sure the final plan for Bay Street is one everyone can agree upon.

Construction on the project wouldn't begin until 2015. Funding for the project still needs to be approved. Senator Jackson says he plans to hold more meetings in the future until all the details are ironed out.

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