New commissioner, new plans could prove critical for the future of the Savannah Arena

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Before ending the 2016 session, Savannah city leaders saw the latest plans for the arena project near Historic Carver Village.

The arena is one of the largest projects council may vote on this year.Out of 2016 came new plans, new designs and even old supporters moving into new positions of power to make this project a priority for Savannah as well as Chatham county.

“It is a big commitment for the community and we want everybody to be comfortable with it when we get started,” says city of Savannah mayor Eddie Deloach.

2017 may be the year the Savannah arena in Carver Village gets the green light. Over the last year, new plans have come in for the build not only for the arena itself but a new business district along the Springfield canal.

“If we can get the right development around there and the right small businesses in the area and location, then we can have an impact that continues you know instead of a hundred days of the year it can be three hundred and sixty-five days a year,” Deloach adds.

The plans for more business development around the arena was not the only big move for this project out of 2016 in fact an election of a new member to the Chatham County commission was a big move because he is a strong proponent of seeing this thing done.

That commissioner is Carver Village neighborhood president Chester Ellis who pushed hard for the city and county to keep the arena on their master plans.

“We worked with the blueprint, we had neighborhood meetings with the folks who were doing the blueprint for the county and we have been a part of that since day one. Now that the arena is coming into fruition that will be a part of it as well because that will uplift that neighborhood,” says Commissioner Ellis.

Ellis did not say he would make it a priority for the commission, but it remains one for him as a neighborhood leader. Right now all of the land north of Gwinnett street and on the west bank of the canal belongs to the city. Mayor Deloach wants to not just see an arena on site but favors the idea for private investment and development around it.

“That idea of long-term is what we’re trying to do.”

The arena will not be on the agenda this week or this month from what city officials tell me. They expect to receive concrete estimates on the project around March and then move forward from there.

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