City council names site for new SPLOST funded arena project - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah names a site for new SPLOST funded arena project


No more money spent on studies. No more time wasted on discussing where to put it. Savannah city council decided Thursday they want to get moving on a new arena.  

WTOC broke the news on Twitter and Facebook Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, and a unanimous vote, a site had been picked for the project which had been earmarked for $120 million of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) dollars.

In an effort to replace the existing Savannah Civic Center and draw in big sporting events and big name entertainers and shows, the new complex will be built on Savannah's west side near Gwinnett Street and Styles Avenue on the city lot, city-owned property.

City officials toured it and other sites two weeks ago, and Thursday, they were faced with possibly studying the other sites further, but decided why spend the money to study them further if they knew which one they wanted. They just want to know,  now, how much will it cost to build it. The $120 million in SPLOST may not cover the whole arena construction, but council members said they wanted to keep their promise to voters.

"We cannot go to voters and raise money and then spend it on something else," Tom Bordeaux, Savannah City Council, told WTOC. "We, the council, the mayor, the city manager. It is raised for the arena. It is spent on the arena. It's just that simple."

Bordeaux says the message council is trying to send is that they are committed to the project and committed to spending the money for what it was raised for.

City officials say the site on Gwinnett and Styles presents various options, while also some challenges. It has existing buildings currently used for city equipment, but will likely be moved. They ideally would like to incorporate the arena complex into the nearby Roundhouse Museum, SCAD, MLK Boulevard and other landmarks and facilities.

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