SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A shifted foundation likely due to the erosion of soil underneath the Hudson Hill Community Center is keeping the center closed for now.
The city of Savannah announced last week that residents using the center will have to use the Moses Jackson Center for the time being.
Back in July 2013, a referendum vote on SPLOST 6 project fund allocation was to include a million dollars for the expansion of the Hudson Hill Community Center, but that money never went to the project. In fact, it was taken out altogether along with another million earmarked for the expansion of the Woodville Community Center.
"Unbeknownst to Mayor Jackson, myself, other aldermen who served at the time, a last minute adjustment in the SPLOST referendum resulted in the omission of these two projects and the $2 million allotment. The council voted on it when the understanding that the funds were allocated in the referendum. Unfortunately, they were not," said Alderman Van Johnson, District 1, Savannah.
Johnson says he doesn't know how that happened, adding he was told multiple times the money would be there. So now, the search is on for Hudson Hill's million dollars.
"We have an excellent bond rating that could also be used to assist the expansion of these centers,' Alderman Johnson said. "The upcoming SPLOST 7 votes could be used to quickly service the debt incurred by these bonds."
Wherever the money comes from, residents who used the center regularly showed up to Wednesday's announcement to make sure their desires were clear.
"It needs to be possible, because there will be repercussions, because next year is an election year, so we are going to make sure, we are going to help him make sure that the money is found, and we do not want a repair, patch job done," said Bernetta Lanier, Hudson Hill Neighborhood Association. "We want what was promised, and that's a replacement center."
Again, the foundation assessment is preliminary. Alderman Johnson says they'll soon have the full scope of the damage, whether the soil can continue to support the center, and from there, determine a timeline for either repair work or construction of a new center.