Community group helping City of Savannah plan future of Forsyth Park

Community group helping City of Savannah plan future of Forsyth Park

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A community group is offering to help the city of Savannah plan the future of Forsyth Park.

The Trustees’ Garden Club of Savannah presented City Council with their initiative during council’s work session on Thursday. The conversation went beyond the partnership and touched on some other issues that have yet to be resolved.

From parking around the park, to security and cracking down on panhandling, the Trustees’ Garden Club proposal opened up a whole host of things city leaders would like to address. First, council learned the objectives of the proposed partnership, and what the club is setting out to do with a master plan.

“The intent of the master plan is not to specify every detail of growth and activity that would take place in the park. It’s to provide guidelines to follow when considering any changes or additions to the park, and its interpretation and programming,” said Meb Ryan, Trustees’ Garden Club.

After the presentation, council asked for a status update on the cafe, and learned five companies put a bid on the project. We could soon learn who city staff will recommend.

“We should hopefully make a recommendation for award within the next 30 days,” said Savannah City Manager, Rob Hernandez.

Problems with a lack of parking is another issue the city is working to tackle.

“There is lack of turnover in parking, and that may affect the financial viability of the cafe, so that is something Miss Johnson and her staff are looking at,” Hernandez said.

Alderman Tony Thomas asked about aggressive panhandling, and what the city could do to discourage that at Forsyth Park. City leaders believe an increased law enforcement presence could help slow - maybe even stop - the activity altogether.

“Ultimately, I really would like to work towards working with Chief Minter and bringing - as part of the FY20 budget - a proposal to establish almost like a park patrol unit that would focus on those parks that have tremendous amounts of individuals that visit the park, and have at least one officer supplemented by private security staff so we have that law enforcement presence there at Forsyth Park and Daffin Park,” Hernandez said.

A need for more restrooms, especially at the south end, was again identified. The city manager says that project could be part of the next SPLOST cycle.

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