City council unveils new proposed arena drawings - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City council unveils new proposed arena and civic center drawings

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Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter unveiled to city council members this morning brand new sketches of what the West Boundary Canal district could look like. Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter unveiled to city council members this morning brand new sketches of what the West Boundary Canal district could look like.
Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter unveiled to city council members this morning brand new sketches of what the West Boundary Canal district could look like. Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter unveiled to city council members this morning brand new sketches of what the West Boundary Canal district could look like.
Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter unveiled to city council members this morning brand new sketches of what the West Boundary Canal district could look like. Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter unveiled to city council members this morning brand new sketches of what the West Boundary Canal district could look like.
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter unveiled to city council members this morning brand new sketches of what the West Boundary Canal district could look like.

This sometimes forgotten historic side of town near Stiles Avenue and Gwinnett Street is the site for the proposed new arena/Civic Center, and some say this makeover is long overdue.

The Louisville Road train trussle will be transformed into a walkway bridge, the corner of Stiles and Gwinnett will be groomed into an historic focal point and the Ogeechee and Springfield Canals will create an inviting area to go for a stroll.

Alderman Van Johnson represents District One and says he's heard the concerns of the new arena site, even from his fellow council members.

Alderman John Hall's voicing his constituents' concerns, "Why are they going to put it in a high crime neighborhood?"

Alderwoman Mary Ellen Sprague noted the declining housing off Gwinnett Street.  "Kayton-Frazier Homes does not look so good, and it keeps going down," she said.

Johnson responded to both concerns.

"The truth is it's not a high crime area, I think it's one of the perceptions, but fact is, it's one of our safest communities," he said. "The Housing Authority owns Kayton-Frazier and they've been rapidly through the community changing the paradigm of public housing in our community."

While the site for the new arena was chosen for its accessibility to I-16, I-516, and the Talmadge Bridge, Johnson says this new vision for the Canal District connects one side of Savannah to another.

"This is a part of the renaissance of this community to make it what it should be and what our residents deserve." Said Johnson

It is a proposed arena site and in November, voters will be asked to renew the existing 1% Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for a six-year period. Included in the SPLOST proposal is up to $120 million for a new arena.

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