Weekend town hall gives neighbors a voice on Gold Dome issues

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – A conversation on casinos, consolidation and the city power for eminent domain engaged dozens of at the Bull Street library. Our local senator Lester Jackson held the town hall and had a long talk with neighbors about these issues.

“Savannah might have a casino soon and it’s not going to be called a casino it’s going to be a destination resort,” says Aaron Whitely.

Concerns raised about the latest legislation under the gold dome in Atlanta. State senator Lester Jackson informed and heard from neighbors from topics like casino gambling.

“We want to know how casinos directly benefit the constituents of Chatham county. And we want that money to go towards entities that really help students,” says Sen. Jackson.

To the Georgia Southern, Armstrong State merger talks that began earlier this week. Armstrong and Southern faculty members were in the town hall and voiced concerns about how the merger was initially communicated to the public and is being currently studied.

“Consolidation has a much higher probability of a successful and a mutually beneficial endeavor if things are couched in such a way to show that we really care about input from both sides and so that’s why I was suggesting that a name or branding that made it not appear that one is taking over the other,” says Georgia Southern math professor Andrew Sills.

What really took the room over was the push to give city leaders eminent domain powers again.

“It could have two-fold negative affects on our community in the sense that in the sense that it can continue to divide our community, which is something that we don’t need,” Whitely says adding that,”but it’s also going to take over properties and sell them to people who may not truly be vested in that neighborhood.”

All of these as well as the push to study consolidating Savannah Chatham county governments are issues being discussed up in Atlanta. Each question or concern, the similar foundation, that lawmakers look at the local level and the people, the jobs, and the money before making tackling these topics.

“Without people none of this exists, it takes a person to build something, it takes a person to pay taxes,” says Whitely.

The issues of eminent domain have not been brought up in the general assembly yet. Bills will be looked at in the coming weeks on resort destinations as well as the study to merge Savannah, Chatham county.

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