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Savannah's Downtown Streetscape Project moves forward, design comes to vote

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(Credit: Shelbey Roberts)

Savannah's Downtown Streetscape Improvement Initiative is offering new possibilities for West Bay Street. The project focuses on revamping the stretch between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Warner Street.

"It's all about connecting the dots. That's what we're really excited about," said Kona Gray, a principal with EDSA Inc.

Tuesday night, Gray presented two design concepts for West Bay Street and community members got a chance to vote on a vision.

Option one is a historic gateway, with a new sign marking entry to the Historic District, a dedicated bike trail and a landscape median.

Option two is a cultural link, with an art walk pedestrian trail and improved sidewalks.

"There was really a large overarching scheme that talked about really tying the you know the nature of the history and the culture together and you'll see that in the concepts," Gray said.

Many of the attendees expressed interest in a combination of both design options.

"I think you can pull from both concepts," said Curtis Cooper. "I think the improvements that they've demonstrated today would really enhance the area."

As a resident of West Savannah, Cooper says he's hoping improvement projects like the Downtown Streetscape Initiative will also come closer to his neighborhood.

"I think development is good, but it also should be directed in places that have not seen a lot of development," he said. "I think that there needs to be more more emphasis on the communities that have been here."

Other people in the area say they're looking forward to the streetscape project's long-term impact.

John Bennett, the Executive Director for the Savannah Bicycle Campaign said, "We like that this is a forward looking project and taking a look at this area not as it exists now, but how it could exist in the future and how this project can really yield some beneficial results..."

For more information on the Downtown Streetscape Improvement Initiative, click here.