Savannah leaders, Edgemere-Sackville residents kick off 'Savannah Shines' campaign

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City of Savannah leaders and Edgemere-Sackville residents kicked off "Savannah Shines" Friday with the groundbreaking of a new playground on Cedar Street. (Credit: Josie Gregory)

City of Savannah leaders and Edgemere-Sackville residents kicked off "Savannah Shines" Friday.

Mayor Eddie DeLoach has been working on starting the blight eradication program for more than a year.

Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood association president Cynthia Hopson walked along Live Oak Street with the mayor Friday, pointing out numerous code violations and safety hazards.

"You can see right here, you know, what happens when there aren't any sidewalks. When it rains, there's a lot of flooding," Hopson said.

Hopson, along with other residents, has been pushing for DeLoach to start "Savannah Shines" in their neighborhood.

"The homes can look better. The places for children to play can exist," said Rosa Davis, a Edgemere-Sackville resident of 30 years.

Leaders and residents broke ground on a new playground on Cedar Street on Friday too. They say this is a positive sign of what is to come for the neighborhood.

Edgemere-Sackville was selected as the first "Savannah Shines" partnership based on the City’s “Sunshine Index”.

The “Sunshine Index” uses specific criteria to rate Savannah’s neighborhoods.

The criteria includes the following:

  • Existence of an established neighborhood association
  • Number of housing code violations
  • Property code violations
  • Delinquent property taxes
  • Crime data

The aim of the program is to attain a lower crime rate and increase property values, two things that are currently lacking in the Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood.

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"There's three or four blocks in this neighborhood that are kind of trouble blocks, in terms of problems--11[00], 12[00], 1300 blocks of 53rd, [5]4th, and [5]5th streets," said Martin Fretty, Edgemere-Sackville project manager.

With some city money and some private investment, tree canopies will be scaled back, yards cleaned up, and sidewalks and driveways put in.

"You have a lot of cars that are parking in yards, which is not good for the yards. You'll see a lot of bare dirt in the yards," Fretty said.

Some of the proposed projects will require homeowner permission and help. City staff said they are already on board, which is one of the reasons this neighborhood was chosen first.

"I see potential because I know that we can be a lot better than what I see," Davis said.

The work is expected to take 18 to 24 months. While work is being done in the Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood, the city plans to begin work in another Savannah neighborhood.