Savannah City Council takes step toward determining future of the former Coastal Empire Fairgrounds

Savannah City Council takes step toward determining future of the former Coastal Empire Fairgrounds

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah City Council took a step toward determining the future of the former Coastal Empire Fairgrounds along with implementing a new initiative with the Savannah-Chatham Homeless Authority during Thursday’s city council meeting.

Savannah City Council has voted to accept the three development proposals for the city-owned Coastal Empire Fairgrounds, the largest undeveloped track the city owns. The city manager explains what’s included in those proposals.

“The City wanted a transformational project that would meet one or a combination of the city’s strategic priorities: economic-strength in poverty reduction, neighborhood revitalization, infrastructure investment and increased public safety," Interim City Manager Pat Monahan said.

The City will have a Zoom meeting for developers to show the proposals to the public.

City council also voted to partially fund the $8.6 million Savannah Arena parking garage with city parking fund revenue. As well as voting to match the county’s share of $50,000 to give to the Chatham-Savannah Homeless Authority’s new initiative to get homeless people off the streets and into a more stable lifestyle.

“It does include a number of initiative that city council has committed as priorities," Monahan said.

Like ways to reduce and stop panhandling and create a centralized program with community groups and faith-based organizations.

Thursday’s city council meeting was also City Manager Pat Monahan’s last city council meeting.

Different council members took the time to thank him for his service to city council and our community.

“You’ve got an all-star team here. You truly do. And I know that you’re going to find the right manager, the right person, the right man or woman who will do the job and lead the city forward. I believe strongly in this council. I know we’ve some rough patches here and there, but the council’s heart, the soul, I feel it. And I feel you will move this community forward so thank you,” Monahan said.

Monahan’s last day is November 2.

In their workshop Thursday afternoon, council discussed the launch of the city’s new multi-platform 311 system, the city’s sustainability plan and balancing the 2020 budget. The city is about $4.2 million out of balance but that has improved from months ago when the city was at a $13.2 million deficit.

Mayor Johnson also mentioned that the city could possibly be in line for more CARES Act funding. However, this money won’t come from the state. The Mayor says the city manager is looking into a way to give that money to more businesses.

“If we’re able to pull it off it’d be an exciting opportunity again just to be able to try to help some of those businesses. What went down wasn’t cool. It wasn’t right and as you already know I was livid about it. Because the difference between Savannah and other cities is, our money was helping people, going directly to help people and other organizations, other government’s were really repaying themselves," said Mayor Van Johnson.

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