Questions continue about new Savannah arena plans - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Questions continue about new arena plans

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A new special purpose local option sales tax-funded arena complex and the Springfield canal are already being met with criticism. 

The location, size, seating and reality of it happening are all being called into question. City staff members say they want to answer those fears. 

Last week, the Savannah City Council pegged the Gwinnett Street and Styles Avenue city lot as the location they wanted for the sprawling arena complex location - with at least $120 million in SPLOST funds potentially devoted to it. 

They said the city owns the land and that they want to take advantage of the Springfield Canal, which it borders, and have patterned the design after the Gwinnett County arena complex in Duluth, GA. 

Some wonder why they would pay so much for an arena that's just slightly bigger than the current Savannah Civic Center. Marty Johnston with the city said the seating limit is not set in stone. She said there are other factors in play as far as drawing big name acts, including a roof that can contain video screens, many touring artist travel with the current Civic Center cannot accommodate. 

She added that the dressing room and service areas were also inadequate. They see the proposed complex as an extension of downtown Savannah. 

The city still has to study exactly what the arena's seating capacity will be and what the Savannah market demands.  

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