G-8 Security Concerns Addressed at Public Meeting

Hundreds turned out for today's meeting.
Hundreds turned out for today's meeting.

The G-8 summit will be here before you know it. So, to help better inform business owners and operators about what they can expect, the Secret Service and Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce held a special meeting today. Hundreds of people turned out to get answers to their questions.

"I'm trying to get answers, trying to get my people to work and my equipment in and so forth I can't find any place that I can get a straight answer," said one attendee.

That's why today's meeting was held, so the Secret Service and Savannah-Chatham police could ease the minds of local businesses, and get them the answers they need. "I've been a little anxious not knowing what it is going to bring, who all's going to be showing up," said business owner Steve Jones.

And the city is understanding about that. "The unknown is either accepted as a threat or as a real possibility," said Mayor Otis Johnson. "So these meetings are helping our communities as realizing this is a real win-win for Savannah."

Steve Jones owns Dockside on River Street, and has attended four or five meetings to learn about security. He says this was the most informative. "I feel much more comfortable after every meeting, more and more comfortable," Jones told us.

The Secret Service and Savannah-Chatham police chief Dan Flynn outlined street closures, explained delivery times, air security, water security and, most importantly, assured the businesses they were ready. "We're feeling very confident at this point," said Flynn, who's urging businesses not to close. "We really don't like the image of our community being seen as a war zone," he said ."That's not necessary, that's an overreaction, we're not a war zone."

Authorities referred us to some helpful sites for finding out what's going on around Savannah security-wise during the G-8 world summit this June:

The City of Savannah has set up an official online clearinghouse for information, www.savannahg8summit.org. Officials plan to update this site frequently with traffic and other information.

The Federal Aviation Administration, www.faa.gov, has information for pilots on flight restrictions.

The U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpoaccess.gov, disseminates official information from all three branches of the federal government.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com