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Mayor's State of the City address highlights five strategic initiatives

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Crime and poverty highlights in mayor's State of the City Address (Credit:Robert Catanese)

The 66th Mayor of Savannah, Eddie DeLoach, gave his State of the City Address Monday night.

In the address, he focused on what he called the "Savannah Forward Plan" which calls for five strategic initiatives.

First up, public safety. Mayor DeLoach noted violent crime was down throughout the city.

“I'm proud to report that violent crime is down seven percent and the murder rate has fallen 30 percent this year,” he said.

He went on to discuss how crime and poverty are related.

“We must provide our youth with a pathway towards an out of poverty and crime,” said DeLoach.

Infrastructure also topped the speech highlights.

DeLoach also highlighted the $1 million for landscaping improvements and the $500,000 to finish the Waters Avenue Revitalization Plan and the Arena in the Canal District.

At one point, the mayor choked up when talking about the ability to provide second chances to those who have had run-ins with the law.

“They deserve that second chance to provide for themselves and their families,” he said.

The importance of early childhood education grew a thunderous applause from the well over 100 people in attendance. It is part of the initiative that Mayor pro-tem Carol Bell supports.

“With the public school system, with the social service agencies and try to work together to not only provide an educational system but also wraparound services that address the needs of the family,” said Bell.

Neighborhood revitalization also was mentioned with the Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood was selected by staff for the Savannah Shines Campaign.

More than $1.6 million will be spent over the next 12-18 months to build new sidewalks and bike paths as well.

The mayor ended his speech with a message of hope and a promise towards the future for Savannah.

“We are in city moving in one direction and that is forward,” he said.