SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - In a 7-2 vote, Savannah City Council sides with a proposal to move the Waving Girl Statue to the other end of River Street, next to the new Plant Riverside project.
The petitioner, Christian Sottile and the Propeller Club of Savannah, requested approval to relocate the Waving Girl Monument from its current location within Morrell Park to 200 West River Walk. The new proposed location would be on public property at the start of West River Walk, where the original end to the River Walk meets the new West River Walk.
The Waving Girl Monument is owned and maintained by the City of Savannah. It depicts Florence Martus who was born on Cockspur Island and later loved to Elba Island, on which she would wave to the passing ships utilizing her handkerchief.
Sottile and those with the Propeller Club of Savannah claimed the proposed new location will allow for better public viewing as well as making the monument easily visible to the passing ships from around the world. The petitioners said the new location best matches the original intent of the monument’s creation and placement.
The petitioners added the current monument’s location does not match with the original intent of the monument because of its obstructed visibility and distance from passing ships. They said visibility has become disrupted by growth in the tree canopy and the construction of the River Walk in 1996 for the Olympics, which placed the monument further back from the Savannah River.
We captured drone footage of the Waving Girl’s current location, to see if visibility really was obstructed from the river. See for yourself:
“The context is much better because it’s a very active, it’s probably the most active location in the city as far as historical context goes because of it being the original location of the Port of Savannah. So she gets back and she can get back to that original intent as well, and she’s on the River," said Propeller Club VP Jason Ball.
“The proposed location of the Waving Girl, a monument intrinsically tied to the port activity of this city, would be located more appropriately than ever before," said Christian Sottile in front of Council.
One of several arguing that the move isn’t what the City should do was the great-grand nephew of Florence Martus.
He told council, “I know that she lived her life in a noble way. And that statue was done for her in a noble way. And that location is more noble than the west end.”
The only votes against the idea of moving the statue came from Alderman Van Johnson and Alderwoman Estella Shabazz.
“I just felt like this was a public treasure. We’re certainly talking about the use of public space. And I just felt like the public needed the opportunity to weigh in. I think everybody would agree that there was not significant time for John Q. Public to weigh in one way or another about how they felt about it," said Johnson.