Community meetings should lead to Savannah's strategic plan soon - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Community meetings should lead to Savannah's strategic plan soon

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Turning community input into a meaningful strategic plan for the hostess city. That’s the task the Savannah City Council and Mayor Eddie DeLoach now face.

The results are expected sooner rather than later. Seven "Savannah Forward" meetings for each district wrapped up Thursday with District 1.

It’s safe to say there better be some action quickly under that gold dome at City Hall. The elected leaders realize eyes are on them to do something.

The task should be relatively simple. The issues people want to be fixed in two to five years are no surprise to our elected officials, and they should shock no one. Traffic, crime, street flooding and blight are common themes. Their concern is they've been saying this for years.

"We discuss all of these issues at our community meetings monthly,” said resident Curtis V. Cooper.

The mayor and council will now be tasked with turning this list of problems into a plan for a solution. They know time is not on their side to make something happen.

"It's ASAP. That's why we brought this group in, so we could have something in our hand to talk about,” said Mayor Eddie DeLoach.

The plan will establish clear priorities with a long-term goal in mind.  The city manager said the plan will have a direct impact on the city's budget as early as next year.

Will that mean more money for police, more emphasis on drainage, and a calming of traffic in certain communities? A lot of people sure hope so.

"People are looking for answers. They're looking for a timeline. Just like the mayor is; he asked for a time, give me a timeline. If they give the people a time when these issues are going to be addressed, then I think people can relax more,” said West Savannah resident Ronald Williams.

Our elected officials and the man they hired to run this city know we're expecting results.

"We're wasting our time if we don't take all input and really turn it into something that is not only tangible but something attainable, something that's measurable, something that's specific, something that's quantifiable,” said Alderman Van Johnson of District 1.

"This is engagement that will give us a final product based off clear deliverables that we will use to move this city forward,” said City Manager Rob Hernandez.

It will be up to them to convince those living in the city that they're serious about addressing their issues this time, and that unlike some many times in the past, this strategic plan is no pipe dream.

The mayor said this plan will be discussed as early as June 3. The city manager says part of the reason they're spending $100,000 on it is for rapid implementation.

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