Statement from Savannah Riverfront - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Statement from Savannah Riverfront Executive Director Kenny Hill

While there is a certain ambiance set with street performers and street artists, there has to be controls and limitations.  While Darwinian in nature, there has been a survival of the fittest - or best - at work and the better quality has survived; there is, however, an influx of more and more people applying for permits wanting to capitalize on an already competitive and full 'market', thus diluting the pool of quality.  Quality and professionalism in their field is what the riverfront community desires for the visitor and local alike.  The Savannah experience is one of a kind, is unique and special; we do not want our visitors or locals to be inundated by aggressive pan-handlers, aggressive street vendors or any aggressive element.  We strive to continue the friendly and hospitable atmosphere we're known for.

Although there are 'illegal' street vendors and although some of their craft is not quality work, the permitted and responsible vendors are icons of historic River Street.  Entrepreneurs some, comic relief others, and the hungry, disillusioned others still, they make up a part of the fabric or our uniqueness.  Whether it is watching Trick's professional and crowd-pleasing performances, having 'your lady friend' offered a Savannah Rose or a horn heckle passersby,  these characters give our street, well, character.

Agressive pan-handling,  nonetheless should not be tolerated.  These individuals negate the positive and most times passively pleasant reputations of the old guard if you will.  While enforcement will always be an issue because of staffing and priority issues, we as a community can discourage this negative element by reporting aggressive actions - of anyone - to the police department.  A watchful eye is a great thing and the riverfront will soon see a concerted effort championed by the Savannah Riverfront and it's membership.

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