City leaders hope to add another update to downtown Streetscape - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City leaders hope to add another update to downtown Streetscape project

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

A major beautification project coming to downtown Savannah could get another big update. The decision comes after West Savannah residents complained about where the project stopped.

The city wants to add bike lanes and better sidewalks to connect West Savannah to the rest of the city because of the complaints from that meeting. It could be a long way from becoming a reality though.

"We are so close, but yet so far. I keep bringing it up. 1.2 miles from the front door of city hall,” said Ronald Williams, a leader in the West Savannah area.

Williams has hoped for development in West Savannah for years. When he heard about this project, he thought much-needed improvements were headed his way.

“With the streetscape, I thought it was going to come over the viaduct. That way, maybe businesses will think about coming, develop, have more businesses out here which makes it better for the community,” said Williams.

There's just one problem—the streetscape project ended at the beginning of the viaduct to West Savannah. Originally River, Bay, and Broughton Streets were getting updated from MLK to East Broad. Earlier this year, the city decided to improve more of West Bay Street but only to the viaduct. For Williams, it's another example of the city leaving out these residents.

"We're a part of Savannah. We're not being treated as part of Savannah because the lack of progress that's going on over here,” said Williams.

That changed Tuesday. Several West Savannah residents voiced their displeasure to city leaders at a meeting to talk about the design for the West Bay project. Their message was clear—make improvements all the way to West Savannah.

"We heard what was being said, and we are moving forward in a direction where we're going to hopefully get the funding to do the study in early 2018,” said Bridget Lidy, director of the city’s Tourism Managament and Ambassadorship department.

The section of West Bay is a lot closer to seeing improvements -- with the design talks already happening. For the viaduct, the idea is there. The money is all that's missing. City leaders said the decision to go forward with this proves they're listening.

"Right now - the viaduct represents a barrier from the neighborhoods to a market place where there are jobs. What we're going to try to do is make that connection happen,” said Lidy.

That's what Williams hopes to see—the bridge working to bring the community together instead of being a barrier for those in West Savannah. Williams still wants to see more done in West Savannah. He wishes the city would do the entire streetscape project to East Lathrop. There are no plans to do that right now.

The city is also working on beautification plans for two West Savannah neighborhoods. Augusta Avenue and Hudson Hill/Bayview are the targets. The projects include streetscape design, business, and transit improvements.

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