It's been a heated debate between the Chatham County Commission and the courts about where to put the CAT transfer station in downtown Savannah. In an overwhelming decision at the Chatham Area Transit meeting today, both proposed sites were eliminated. The courthouse parking garage and the southeast corner of MLK and Oglethorpe had been picked after years of controversy as the best sites.
The sites were both extremely controversial, so now it's the process of finding a site will start all over again. "I think they were appropriate decisions, I voted for both of them," said commission chair Billy Hair.
Two weeks ago, the county commission came under fire from the judges who were furious at the idea of losing their parking garage, and that was a big part of this major decision. "I can understand the concern of the judges," said Dr. Pricilla Thomas (District 8). "They were not placed in the loop at the beginning, they were left out and I think that was a big mistake."
What Dr. Thomas does not understand is abandoning the original site at MLK and Oglethorpe. "I think it should have been kept in the loop, so we can continue to look at options," she said.
But a majority of the CAT board doesn't share her opinion, saying the site is too controversial and it was just delaying the process. "We fight for sites and delay for years and years and years and possibly lose funding," said Dr. Thomas.
While it seems like a dead end, some can find a silver lining and look at it as a new beginning. "It gives us a clear mandate on how we should proceed now," CAT director Scott Lansing.
The stakeholders now have to meet and select new sites, and revisit some of the old ones.