Waters Ave. revitalization project causes headache for business owner

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Waters Avenue beautification project - meant to bring a new look to a dilapidated neighborhood - is having unintended consequences on some business owners in the area.

The owner of a sports bar said the changes made in Phase 1 of the project took away almost all of his parking. Alderman Bill Durrence said he's working with the proper people within city government to get some of that parking back.

These no parking signs are common around Savannah. This spotting of them though on 34th Street is an unwelcome sight for Eddie Collins.

"When do they put up a no parking any time? It should be a Tuesday or Wednesday for street cleaning. I can understand that. But anytime," said Eddie Collins, owner of Flajaes Sports Bar.

The signs showed up across from Collins' Waters Avenue sports bar a few months ago. It was about the same time this curb cut off parking in front of his bar.

"So I don't understand how I can be a small business, paying taxes in the city, and the city do something like this to me," said Collins.

Speaking with Alderman Bill Durrence, he defends the curb by the sidewalk.

"You can't have a lot of curb cuts along the street and have pedestrian safety. Also, you don't want people backing into a public street like Waters Avenue," said Alderman Durrence.

He doesn't understand why these signs are up on 34th. The road has no homes on one side. It's the only non-residential stretch nearby. He's hoping to get some of this parking back for Collins and another nearby store.

"The last thing we want to do is hurt the businesses that are there now. The few businesses that are there now are trying to do something in that community. We want to do what we can to help them," said Durrence.

As for the future phases of the Waters Avenue project, Durrence wants to look at how Phase 1 was handled before going forward with the next steps.

"There are some similar properties in Phase 2 where the same thing could happen all over again if we don't take the time to look at that before we start work," said Durrence.

Collins said the parking changes took away about 25 spots. He hopes to get them back soon. Collins said he never got a chance to give any input ahead of that beautification project. He said as a business owner paying taxes, he would've at least liked that opportunity.

Copyright 2016 WTOC. All rights reserved.