Open houses held on the future of the Coastal Empire Fairgrounds property

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 7:53 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2021 at 11:09 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We’re finally getting a look at what could be built on one of the largest properties the City of Savannah owns.

Tuesday night was the first time the community got the chance to see three proposals being considered for the former Coastal Empire Fairgrounds.

The property is in Savannah’s 5th District. It’s mostly gone unused since the city bought the land in 2016.

Three proposals being considered include a sports complex, multi-purpose fields, a film and television production studio, housing, food markets and more.

However, city leaders and residents in the area have expressed their frustration about delays in moving the development forward. But Tuesday night, some of those feelings changed.

Many of the people WTOC spoke with see these meetings as a step forward. They and city leaders say this is really the first time everyone has been able to see what could go on the land. They’re happy the City is finally at this point.

City of Savannah staff say about 150 people gathered at the Liberty City Community Center Tuesday. People went from room to room to learn more about the three proposals for the Fairgrounds property.

“It’s been a long long long journey to get to this day and this day finally came,” said District 5 Alderwoman Estella Shabazz, Mayor Pro Tem.

The Knott Development’s Fairgrounds District conceptual plan includes a sports complex with two four-court gyms, an aquatic center, turf fields, and more.

Todd Rhodes works with youth sports through a local non-profit, Savannah Royal Lions, and says this is needed in the area.

“This plan here, it’s the best. It caught my attention because it gives what we need. It provides free space and everything for our youth that we lack here in Savannah,” said Rhodes.

The developers say they hope the City will be able to host sports tournaments there.

P3 Joint Venture Group’s proposal includes a movie and television studio, senior and single family living areas, possible police substation, a food market, retail spaces and a recreation complex.

Resident Janice Harrison says she’s concerned about the senior citizens who live near the property and wants them to be part of the conversation.

“The most important one to me was about the senior citizens,” said Harrison. “We can’t forget about them because they are the foundation of Savannah so I just hope they find a space for them.”

Savannah Bridge Development says their proposal includes single and multi family homes, apartments, duplexes, multi-purpose fields, a market to table food facility where people can learn to grow and sell their own food, a film and entertainment area, gyms and restaurants.

Wednesday is your last chance to get a look at the different proposals. The last open house meeting will be held at the Civic Center at 5:30 p.m.

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