SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - We're starting to see signs of a multi-million dollar investment into Savannah neighborhoods take shape.
In August, it was announced the Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood would be the first focus of the pilot program that aims to pump in resources to improve the overall feel and safety of the area.
Ahead of this weekend's cleanup, we're getting a first-hand look at some of the collaborative efforts to get Savannah Shines off the ground.
When Andrea Pent and her husband found out the city was focusing its Savannah Shines pilot program in the Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood, they felt like they won the lottery.
"Yes, very lucky for us. Thanking our lucky stars," Pent said.
The Pent's have worked on the interior of their rental property for months. Because of the funds gathered through Savannah Shines, they can now focus on the outside and curb appeal.
Pent said, "We're gonna get the grass to grow, putting in driveways, things that weren't a part of our original scope of work when we bought the house."
Savannah Shines Project Manager Martin Fretty said, "We approached them and said, 'Hey listen, Savannah Shines might be able to help you with some financing, that will help you do some things that will help you protect your investment and be an asset to your neighborhood and your property.'"
Fretty pointed out crews with property maintenance and code enforcement are also working to clean up lanes and public right-of-ways.
Private property owners aren't the only ones benefiting from the neighborhood-wide cleanup initiative. Right next to the Pent's property will be a Habitat for Humanity House for a family in need of affordable housing.
"Because there's a targeted focus on this neighborhood to improve the quality of life for residents, that allows us to do what we do best...which is to create affordable homeownership opportunities which allow for the ongoing revitalization and stability of the neighborhood," said Harold Tessendorf, the executive director for the Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity.
The Savannah Shines initiative will focus city resources on the Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood, through public and private funding, for the next year and a half.
The City of Savannah will conduct a major cleanup event in its "Savannah Shines" pilot neighborhood Edgemere-Sackville on Saturday, Oct. 14. City staff along with the Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood association, its sponsors, residents, youth, and other organizations will conduct the cleanup on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The event will begin at the intersection of E. 54th and Cedar streets. Some neighborhood improvement activities leading up to and during Saturday's event include litter and trash pickup, grass cutting, lane clearing, tree pruning, property inspections and property improvements. Armstrong State University student volunteers will also be painting houses and Habitat for Humanity will begin construction on a new house.
The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, Savannah Fire & Rescue Services, WorkSource Coastal, Operation Clean Sweep, City departments and community partners will also participate in an information, education and outreach fair that includes discussion of employment, career, job recruitment, economic development, housing, public improvement, social service and volunteer opportunities.
The Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood association and its partners are sponsoring a neighborhood cookout with music. The neighborhood is bounded by East 53rd Street, Waters Avenue, Parnell Street and the Truman Parkway.