City, County Officials Address Residents' G-8 Concerns - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/27/04

City, County Officials Address Residents' G-8 Concerns

Foreground, left to right: Mayor Otis Johnson, CEMA director Phil Webber, Chairman Billy Hair. Foreground, left to right: Mayor Otis Johnson, CEMA director Phil Webber, Chairman Billy Hair.

The G-8 summit will be here before you know it, and quite a few residents and business owners are anxious about what might happen around their neighborhoods during that event. Now the City of Savannah and Chatham County are stepping up their efforts, trying to answer everyone's concerns. All agencies involved held a news conference to talk about their new initiatives to get information to all residents.

You name it and that agency was at the Chatham County Commission meeting room: police, fire, school board, CEMA, Mayor Johnson and Chairman Hair, all to get a message about G-8 across to the public. "The citizens should have no fear that we will not be ready for this international event when it comes in June," said Johnson.

"The main message we want to get out today is, we're open for business," said Hair. "We want everybody to keep coming to savannah, we're going to have a great time."

The agencies involved in planning know the residents have questions regarding safety, parking, traffic, business closures and many other issues, so they are taking a new initiative to help address those concerns. "We will be holding meetings in each of the districts and we will be bringing representatives from this group to the meeting," said Hair.

The Convention and Visitor's Bureau also brought some good news for businesses who have been worried about the effect of the summit. "We're feeling very comfortable in projecting a $40 million increase in travel expenditures in 2004 because of the summit," said bureau president Tony Schopp.

And the funding to take care of this summit is in the works at the state and federal levels right now. "We will have the funding we need to carry this out in a first class manner," said Mayor Johnson. "We've been assured of that and we're working to get the agreement in writing."

The city and county are working on parking and traffic flow plans, and in order to get all information out to you, they will be going through us, so stay tuned to WTOC to find out when meetings in your area will be as well as any new updates.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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