Savannah city leaders unveil Yamacraw Square

Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 11:11 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 4, 2022 at 11:52 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Savannah officially has a new square.

City leaders and Yamacraw community members gathered for the unveiling of the new square which also underwent an art restoration process.

“Thereby providing it with the full measure of dignity, value, and care as regarded with the city’s other 22 squares,” Yamacraw Square Designer Jerome Meadows said.

The new installations feature fountains creating a welcoming spot for visitors...that even drivers can see from bordering Bay St.

In the middle a plaza with plaques paying tribute to the area’s African-American and Native American history.

The square is just north of First Bryan Baptist Church...which city leaders say is one of the country’s oldest African-American Baptist churches.

“It is within this plaza that residents, informed, inspired, empowered can take pride in sharing the abundant history to be found here,” Meadows said.

The call for restoration came when a member of a tour group noticed the then Yamacraw Art Park’s need for maintenance.

“We began to see that the plaques were basically being vandalized. We saw that the slates were now being vandalized, we saw that the fountain was not functioning,” Dr. Amir Jamal Toure said.

Then in March of this year Savannah city council unanimously voted to change the name to Yamacraw Square investing approximately 100,000 dollars for repairs.

“We replaced missing granite blocks on the wall. We cleaned the plaza. We restored and enhanced the landscape and the turf,” Savannah City Manager Jay Melder said.

The square lies within Yamacraw Village.

The Savannah Yamacraw Association is in a legal battle with the city’s Housing Authority to stop a proposed redevelopment plan for the public housing complex.

Some city leaders now saying the square will be a key asset in Yamacraw’s future.

“I challenge us to become more purposeful about where it is that we plan to take this community based on where it is we have come from,” District 1 Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier said.

As the square now aims to commemorates the past.

Leaders say that now that the space is officially a square it will be maintained and listed as a historic square within the City of Savannah.

Community members hope it will draw more visitors to the area.