20190228 - City Council Workshop

Savannah City Government



February 28, 2019 – 10:00 a.m.

PRESENT: Mayor Eddie DeLoach, Presiding

Aldermen: Carol Bell, Julian Miller, Brian Foster, Bill Durrence, John Hall, Van Johnson, II (arrived 10:15 a.m.), Tony Thomas (arrived at 10:20 a.m.), Estella Shabazz (arrived at 11:05 a.m.)

Rob Hernandez, City Manager

Jen Herman, Interim City Attorney

Bret Bell, Assistant to the City Manager

William Shearouse, Assistant City Attorney

City Manager Hernandez welcomed everyone to the meeting and briefly reviewed the agenda stating the Pedicab & Quadricycles Ordinance Overview will be removed from both agendas because there were some last minute tweaks with meetings between staff and the industry.

Alderman Foster asked the City Attorney to draw up an ordinance about what he would like to add to the discussion as an amendment that prohibits alcoholic beverages by the people on them pedaling. City Manager Hernandez replied staff will include that language in the proposed revisions for March 14th. He stated it will be introduced at the workshop and if Council is comfortable the first reading will be on the 14th, with the final reading and adoption at the subsequent meeting.

Workshop Agenda Items
1. 2020 Census Update
2020 Census Workshop.pdf

City Manager Hernandez stated the Census is extremely important to local communities because a lot of decisions are based on the census.

Reverend Thurmond Tillman, Census Committee Chair stated he was at the meeting to talk about the importance of having a complete count committee. The importance of the Census is power and money, for re-apportionment and redistricting for the distribution of money. He stated if people are missed, money will be missed, and we will be stuck with those figures for the next ten years. Rev. Tillman stated this Census will be different because it is the first Census that will be accessible to complete online. In addition participants have the option of phoning in and having someone complete it for them or a paper form can be requested. The Census test was done in the Savannah area in 2015 and we proved that it can be done. A Complete Count Committee will encourage participation and tell people this is important. Rev. Tillman stated complete count committees will be the trusted voices around the City and will get people in the right place once and only once. Complete Count Committees are formed by local governments and work in all areas of the community, faith based, etc., and form sub-committees to get that done. Currently the education phase is taking place informing people the census is coming. The next phase is awareness followed by the motivation, reminder and thank you phases. The more informed households are about the 2020 Census, the more likely they are to participate, and every resident needs to ensure they get counted. The largest percentage that doesn’t get counted is children. Rev. Tillman concluded stating they are currently informing people that jobs are available now, more information can be found at www.2020census.gov/jobs. In addition he provided his contact information for anyone that may have questions.

Alderwoman Bell asked what percentage of the population responded with the last Census. Rev. Tillman replied around 72% responded in Georgia and Savannah was between 72-74%.

Alderman Durrence stated in some of his district neighborhoods when he discusses anything online he gets pushback about seniors not having computers and having online access. He asked if there will be an increased effort to get paper forms in centers, and possible have some quickie presentations notifying them of their options.

Rev. Tillman stated when the test was done in Savannah test, he thought it would be a disadvantage to seniors, but the test showed the seniors were more engaged because they found someone to help them do it. The difficulty was with millennials, because they were not responding.

Alderwoman Bell asked would it be helpful to have volunteers in community centers to assist whoever. Rev. Tillman replied the Complete Count Committee will do that by finding volunteers to assist specific populations be counted, he used non English speaking populations as an example.

Mayor DeLoach stated it may be helpful to have a City representative at the neighborhood association meetings to assist with getting the word out at those meetings. He stated the City would be glad to assist with that.

Rev. Tillman stated they will help anyone who wants a committee in their community to form one.

Alderman Hall asked Rev. Tillman what the duration of jobs was and the hourly rate of pay.

Rev. Tillman replied the pay varies by County and position, they look at the unemployment rate. He stated more information can be found on the website giving details on each specific job. He stated there are people going out to check the addresses beginning in June and then there will be a nonresponse follow up in 2020 after the forms are received.

2. Pedicab & Quadricycles Ordinance Overview

Removed from agenda per the City Manager's request

3. Clean Community Ordinance Overview
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Clean Community Ordinance.pdf

City Manager Hernandez reminded Council that the City’s Chief Community Services Officer Taffanye Young has been working with Alderman Miller and community groups on the largest community cleanup efforts the City has had in a long time. Tomorrow over 500 City employees will be scattered throughout the City undertaking a massive litter pickup campaign. He stated many nonessential services will be curtailed to allow employees to participate. On Saturday we will transition to the community, when over 78 community and neighborhood organizations and some Council members will be helping to clean up the City.

He turned the presentation over to Kevin Milton, Code Compliance Director to review the ordinance updates.

Kevin Milton, initially introduced the Clean Community Ordinance, in January stating this is a replacement of the Litter Ordinance. Mr. Milton stated Alderman Miller brought a group of individuals together to discuss litter which has resulted in the proposal of the Clean Community Ordinance. Mr. Milton briefly reviewed the definitions and penalties associated with the current Litter Ordinance. He stated the new ordinance adds new definitions, and requires placement of litter receptacles, prohibits sweeping of litter into gutters or public right of ways and addresses litter thrown from vehicles, and prohibits littering in parks and waterways. He stated it also discusses handbills, graffiti, and goes into specific penalties. Mr. Milton stated the new ordinance is greatly driven by penalties, providing for first, second and third offenses, and includes litter pick up for offenders. He stated enforcement will be with Savannah Police Department, but all City Marshals will also have the ability to enforce.

Alderman Durrence asked is blowing leaves in the public right of way prohibited? Mr. Milton replied yes it is and this ordinance covers that and any debris. Alderman Durrence stated $50 doesn’t seem like enough, if someone was caught putting posters on poles, can multiple posters on the same pole be considered as separate fines. Mr. Milton replied yes.

Alderman Miller stated he received a lot of undue credit but the truth of the matter is that when the City Manager and staff got behind this, it was amazing. He stated the current ordinance had no teeth and that is what we are trying to do here. He applauded what staff is trying to do here and wanted to be sure the City staff, City Manager, Mr. Milton, Chief Young’s staff, and the neighborhoods that have stepped up to be part of it are all recognized.

Alderman Johnson stated there are areas in the City which are hotspots for litter but it is not necessarily done by the people who live there it just accumulates in front of their home because that’s where people hang out. He stated he wants the issue addressed concerning people being placed in situations where they are not the violator yet because there is inference because litter is in front of their place.

Alderwoman Bell added she understands his concern but isn’t sure how the City can address that, especially for people that live in those areas like herself. She stated its unfortunate but we all have to play a role in picking it up.

Mr. Milton stated in this specific ordinance the inference only refers to vehicles. Code Compliance gets involved in litter when it is defined as something else. This ordinance addresses if an enforcement officer sees someone committing the act and. He also added Code Compliance will identify illegal dumping to determine who is responsible.

Alderman Johnson asked how effective will the police be in doing all the other aspects of their job if they are now focusing on litter. Mr. Milton replied this is just another law they can enforce if they see it.

Alderman Hall stated he just hopes Friday and Saturday activities will be the catalyst to get the entire City to pick up trash if they see it in front of their home.

Alderman Miller stated he never throws trash out in his front yard, but picks it up everyday and hopes everyone else will do so too. He stated the Police Department is supportive of this but they asked for some teeth in it if they are going to go forth with the effort of enforcement.

Alderman Durrence stated he wants people to understand that cigarette butts are litter too.

City Manager Hernandez stated staff works very closely with the hospitality industry and pay an additional dollar per night that a room is occupied and the City receives a portion of that and since January 1st we have been working with contractors to clean sidewalks. He stated Bay Street has been completed and they are now working on Broughton Street. He added that Chief Young has been working with nonprofit groups on the next phase to provide employment to help keep the Downtown area cleaner, which all ties in to our cleaner community theme.

Alderman Thomas stated we have trucks that put signs up in the middle of the night and place them far enough up on the poles that they are unreachable and questioned if that is addressed in the new ordinance. Mr. Milton stated it is enforceable under this ordinance, but individuals have to be seen doing the act. He added staff tries to follow-up with them but many of them are not even local. This particular ordinance would require the individual to be caught in the act.

Alderman Durrence stated any citizen can remove a sign that is in the right of way. Mr. Milton stated he does not encourage that for their own safety.

4. New Savannah Arena Update
2019_0228 Savannah Arena_City Council Meeting_final.pdf

Pete Shonka, Director of Arena Development reviewed the public meetings and Council feedback given to date. He stated a final concept design will be presented today based on all those efforts and feedback. 

Ernest Joiner came forward to introduce the staff from Perkins + Will.

Marco Nicoterro, Lead Designer, provided updated imagery and animations. He stated he was last here in October and proposed a few designs based on public feedback and subsequently moved the design forward based on the feedback of Council. Mr. Nicoterro stated with the updated design concept, the design changed quite a bit, and is now more of a sculpted building. He stated some of the feedback from Council was to make it more impressive, framing the main entry with larger vertical towers and make it more of a lantern along the Springfield Canal. He stated the majority of the time people will be coming is at night and at dusk. He showed Council a view of the Arena from Stiles Avenue, stating they made the building more symmetrical to make it feel more like a civic building with a grand entry, detailed with stone caps, stone arches and metal awnings, and a more in scale and more part of Savannah fabric.

Mayor DeLoach stated they took Councils ideas and made the building look really sharp. He stated it makes a great statement, and will be a great impact for the City of Savannah and something people will be amazed at and will remember they were there.

City Manager Hernandez asked for an explanation on the cap on the tower. Mr. Nicoterro stated they are still studying that, they have shown that as a cast stone cap, could be metal, could lift up and make that glow like a lantern.

Mayor DeLoach stated that original concept was like the train station and had two columns, and this is a great start.

Alderman Johnson asked if the tower or roof be green technology. Mr. Nicoterro replied they could certainly look at that. Alderman Johnson suggested solar or greenspace.

Alderman Miller requested that staff go through the timetable.

Mr. Shonka replied they had a big all-encompassing meeting with the Construction Manager at Risk and the complete design team, right now they are looking at ground breaking around September 5th, and roll into construction with site work starting, and having guaranteed maximum price around March 2020 with vertical construction starting around that point.

City Manager Hernandez stated we are estimating December 2021 as the opening and we are planning backwards from there. Guaranteed max price will be coming in March and we have 11 months to finalize the design and financing plans.

Alderman Johnson stated there are some ancillary things, particularly regarding Gwinnett Street, that have to be done.

City Manager Hernandez replied staff has identified that there are 13 sub-projects identified with the arena. He stated they have a task force of City employees working on these issues, and are working on those issues.

Alderman Thomas asked about the tower studies. Mr. Nicoterro replied these are just three of those studies. Alderman Thomas stated he thinks they are heading in the right direction but it is not where it needs to be yet.

Alderman Miller asked if the construction timetable was for the arena itself. Mr. Shonka replied yes.

Alderman Thomas stated an opening in December 2021, is not happening. City Manager Hernandez replied that’s what staff is shooting for, all hands on deck.

City Manager Hernandez replied staff can provide Council with updates on a quarterly basis as we update you on our Capital projects.

Alderman Miller asked will drawings be online. Mr. Shonka replied yes.

Alderman Thomas asked at what point does City Council say this is our design. City Manager Hernandez replied they will continue to refine their design, and it will be brought back next quarter.

5. Grant Center & Hudson Hill Community Center Update
Exhibit 1: Grant and Hudson Hill Community Center Options.pdf

City Manager Hernandez stated he wanted to bring Council up to date on where we are on proposals for the Grant Center and replacement of the Hudson Hill Center in West Savannah. He stated the buildings suffered damage from poor soils, and staff has started to identify a variety of options for Council to consider for replacement or consolidation. The previous Councils had adopted under SPLOST VI either replacing or renovating the Grant Center. We had our engineers look at the Grant Center and it was determined that it is not economically feasible to expand the Grant Center, so we are looking at combining the two. He stated they also have a very robust community center across from the Grant Center, the Moses Jackson Center, so that center is also being looked at. He stated approximately seven to twelve different scenarios have been explored.

Cristy Lawrence, Capital Projects Manager, reviewed various different options for the Grant Center, Hudson Hill, and then the centers combined.

Option 1: New Gymnasium w/ Locker Rooms & Renovation at Moses Jackson

  • West end of Moses Jackson building would be renovated into fitness & weight rooms
  • Existing Grant Center would be demolished once new gymnasium complete
  • New 25-30 space parking lot would be constructed on existing Grant Center property
  • Underground Detention would be required

Estimated cost approximately: $4 million

Estimated timeline: 2 ½ years

Alderman Thomas asked why would it take 2 ½ years. City Manager Hernandez replied we haven’t even started the design and contract process, as a lot of this time is going through the procurement and funding process.

Alderman Johnson stated two rooms on the west end of the Moses Jackson Center are totally unused and should have been renovated. City Manager Hernandez replied those are the only two spaces that were not renovated.

Ms. Lawrence continued with Option 2: Field House at Hudson Hill Park

Field House building square footage would equal existing Hudson Hill Center building (4,000 SF).

Field House would include:

  • Indoor Restrooms
  • Outdoor Restrooms
  • Meeting Room
  • Offices
  • Computer lab
  • Kitchen
  • Concession Area

Field House would better serve the needs of Hudson Hill Park as a sports complex; would provide needed additional parking to accommodate sports events at Hudson Hill Park (>20 additional spaces); existing building & splash pad would be demolished; playground & picnic shelter would be relocated on site .

Estimated cost approximately: $3 million

Estimated timeline: 2 ½ years

Alderman Miller asked is that a baseball/softball field, and if it gets a lot of use. City Manager Hernandez replied yes. Ms. Lawrence added that parking is crowded. City Manager Hernandez stated the challenges with parking, are that there is insufficient restrooms and concessions, this gives the City an opportunity to bring on additional functionality.

Alderman Miller asked if the City owns the property across street. Heath Lloyd, Chief Infrastructure and Development Officer, replied we own some parcels across street, that we have looked at for parking, but we need to look at acquiring and combining.

City Manager Hernandez stated the challenge is the limited right of way, but the City does have the ability to add in sidewalks and because we don’t want to dump people into the street.

Alderman Miller asked is there a possibility of a raised walkway. Mayor DeLoach stated its too narrow.

Alderwoman Bell asked how much money has been identified. City Manager Hernandez replied right now we have not identified any funding for Hudson Hill.

Alderman Hall asked what the area where the building would be demolished be used for. Ms. Lawrence replied it could be used for parking.

Alderman Johnson stated they neighbors have been quite adamant that they wanted the building in the same location, we need an option of replacing the building in its current location. He stated he would like to see options of the field house options with a new community center, including outdoor restrooms. City Manager Hernandez replied we want to make sure we aren’t making the same mistake when the building was built regarding the soil conditions, and we need to defer to our engineering and architect professionals. Alderman Johnson stated we need to make sure we fully vet their requests, i.e.  insurance. City Manager Hernandez stated the building has depreciated to a point and the City isn’t going to get any proceeds.

Alderwoman Bell state we need to have staff onsite at neighborhood meetings to go over options.

City Manager Hernandez replied once staff hears from Council they can do that.

Ms. Lawrence stated they did ask the City’s geotechnical consultant to do an analysis at all sites, and it would be feasible to construct at the same site if the buildings were designed right. She stated staff has been working with Chief Young’s staff to determine the best use on the site.

Alderman Johnson stated we have a large amount of senior citizens that use the site.

Ms. Lawrence presented Council with Option 3: a Regional Community Center located at Hudson Hill.

The Regional Community Center would include:

  • Gymnasium
  • Locker rooms
  • Weight room
  • Fitness room
  • Game room
  • Computer lab
  • Art room
  • Storage room
  • Offices
  • Restrooms
  • Multi-purpose room with kitchen (seats 80)

Special Foundation/Geopiers needed due to soil conditions; existing building & splash pad would be demolished; playground & picnic shelter would be relocated on site; and the City owns property so no lease or agreement needed.

Estimated cost approximately: $7.5 million

Estimated timeline: 3 years

City Manager Hernandez stated this would combine the Hudson Hill Center and the Grant Center. Alderman Miller asked would it replace the Grant Center. City Manager Hernandez replied yes.

Alderman Johnson asked what the distance is between the Grant Center and Hudson Hill. City Manager Hernandez replied probably less than ½ mile, but you do have to cross a much busier Bay Street.

Ms. Lawrence moved on to Option 4: Regional Community Center at Clearview Development

The Developer is Cardinal Capital Management, they offered to make a commercial parcel available at low to no cost (must be negotiated). The City would assume shared stormwater detention with the overall development.

Estimated cost approximately: $7 million

Estimated timeline: 3 years

Alderwoman Bell stated the distance from both communities needs to be taken into consideration.

Mayor DeLoach asked wouldn’t you have to put something over Bay Street for kids to cross, like a pedestrian bridge. Ms. Lawrence replied they haven’t factored that into the cost.

Alderman Durrence stated in that Clearview master plan they are showing a bus stop where there is none.

Ms. Lawrence reviewed Option 5: Regional Community Center at Brock Elementary School

  • Would have to negotiate lease with School Board & share space with school (waiting to hear back from School Board on whether site is available)
  • Less control – terms of lease could be changed by School Board at end of lease term as it did at Windsor
  • Special Foundation/Geopiers may be needed due to soil conditions

Estimated cost approximately: $7.5 million

Estimated timeline: 3 years

Alderman Miller asked if this would be a City facility on school property. Ms. Lawrence replied yes.

Alderman Thomas stated that is currently a problem out at Windsor Forest.

Alderwoman Shabazz stated as the district alderman she just wanted to state that everything is working fine in Cloverdale. Council briefly discussed the Francis Bartow Park belonging to the Housing Authority of Savannah.

Ms. Lawrence then provided Council with a list of other sites considered which included:

  • Bay Street parcels (no longer available)
  • Augusta Avenue City –owned parcels (site not feasible - too small)
  • Westside Park (site not feasible - too small & conflicts with existing infrastructure)

Ms. Lawrence briefly reviewed a summary of all options reviewed stating staff is recommending options 1 & 2 – total cost $7 million. Ms. Lawrence briefly reviewed available funding stating the Grant Center has $2 million and Hudson Hill doesn’t have any available. 

Alderman Durrence asked if $5 million was needed for recommendations.

Ms. Lawrence reviewed the funding option which included:

  • Draw from reserves
  • Reallocate from other capital projects
  • Bond issuance
  • Wait and include on SPLOST VII list

City Manager Hernandez stated the Budget Director is reviewing recently closed projects to see if there are any residual funds. He stated we can get started on the design if Council wants to move forward with the staff recommendations we can move forward and then come back with a recommendation on funding.

Alderman Johnson stated staff has fulfilled their role in presenting options, but for him none of them necessarily hit the mark. For the Hudson Hill Center this was no fault of their own, this was a building actively used and now they do not have use of it at all, and we owe them that building back and we owe them it back as soon as possible. He continued stating his preference for Hudson Hill is for us to actively and aggressively look at the current site with some modifications, and the role of it as a community center with some aspects of a field house. For the Grant Center, he thinks the idea of using the Moses Jackson Center is good. The City owns the land over there already and it makes sense and its proximity to the programs already in Moses Jackson. On paper the regional center makes sense, but realistically it doesn’t. He stated we find money we want to find money for when dealing with other things and he doesn’t see any reason to delay in providing the citizens of Hudson Hill in the shortest order. He then addressed the option of bonds.

City Manager Hernandez addressed the bonds comment stating his concern is them not being able to be paid back with SPLOST funds.

Alderwoman Bell asked to go back to the options and stated she is not prepared to select any of the options until the two communities weigh in. She stated she likes the recommendations but want to make sure the neighborhoods agree with that. She recommended holding off the decision until staff meets with the community.

Alderman Foster asked if staff is recommending a new field house at Hudson Hill just in different location. Ms. Lawrence replied the location can be moved and it can be called a community center and program it how we need to. Alderman Foster asked if the same mistake is being made twice, and stated we should be planning more for the future. Alderman Johnson stated he is suggesting giving the community what they asked for. He stated it’s an opportunity for new and improved based on actual usage and future needs. Alderman Foster asked if he is suggesting Option 2. Alderman Johnson replied no, it needs to be a variation of that, a Field House says it is for the Field, it needs to be a community center with aspects of a Field House.

Alderman Miller asked if Options 4 & 5 have been nixed? He asked if they both include building on someone else’s land, and if so he discourages that. City Manager Hernandez replied Option 4 would become City property.

Alderman Thomas stated the School Board builds all these beautiful new schools, after school is over are they still being used for recreation? City Manager Hernandez replied he couldn’t answer that with any clarity.

Alderman Thomas asked if the City engaged in some discussion with them.

Alderman Miller replied we had an MOU with them, but it hasn’t been taken any further. The problem is schools also have a lot of teams. The City wasn’t really ready to move forward.

Alderman Hall stated keep in mind after school activities go on until 6:00 pm and when the bell rings it doesn’t mean the school is empty and it is better for us to have our own on our own property than to rely on the schools because different School Boards and different Superintendents come in with different ideas.

Alderman Miller stated if we are going to build he agrees but the taxpayers pay for all these buildings, and he would really like to see a consortium of all these parties.

Mayor DeLoach asked how many kids are we talking about, in reality how many kids are we talking about on either side, if we split the two sides.

Nick Roberts, Acting Director Parks and Recreation, stated the Grant Center has 180 registered participants, majority during the summer. Hudson Hill has 98 registered participants, mostly outside, inside the Golden Age averages about 10 participants.

Mayor DeLoach stated the combination of the two is what works best in his opinion.

Alderman Johnson stated it is a very unique situation, the habit is that people want to be close to home, there are higher levels of poverty and latch key and they need to be relatively close.

Alderman Foster discouraged Council from looking at reserves since we aren’t there. He stated another option is to do an audit at the end of March to see if there are some surplus funds.

Alderwoman Bell suggested engaging the communities. She stated a lot of stuff is going on in the schools she visited recently.

Alderman Miller stated the numbers need to be put in perspective and asked how many kids participate in the City’s basketball program. Mr. Roberts replied there are over 40 teams, easily 600 kids.

Alderman Miller stated a lot of these kids don’t have the ability to travel. Alderwoman Bell added and Bay Street is a barrier.

City Manager Hernandez stated one of the reasons we are recommending Options 1 and 2 is because of the proximity of the Moses Jackson Center which functions as a regional center. He stated he thinks there are advantages to co-locating facilities. Within a half mile radius of this area, there are three facilities, and other communities have no facilities whatsoever. He stated staff will bring something back to Council based on the consensus.

Council came to a consensus to explore Options 1 and 2, and leave Hudson Hill in its current location.

6. 2018 Year-End Capital Projects Update
Exhibit 1: 2018 4th Quarter Capital Improvement Program Review.pdf

Alderman Johnson introduced Kendrick Varnett from Austin Texas Code Compliance, stating he would be shadowing him as his mentor with ICMA.

Heath Lloyd, Chief Infrastructure and Development Officer, stated staff will be providing Council with a 4th quarter update and recap of the 2018 accomplishments in video form. Ms. Lawrence’s role is very important to get these Capital projects and SPLOST projects done, and he wanted to take an opportunity to thank our citizens for SPLOST.

Cristy Lawrence, reviewed the 4th quarter of 2018, stating there were 298 projects, 55 project managers, and 6 project managers. At the end of the quarter, 64 projects had been closed out, no new projects were added, 4 progressed from planning to pre-construction, 14 to implementation. The 6 project managers are managing 57 active projects with a $71 million budget. 

Mr. Lloyd stated we got a lot of stuff done in 2018, utilizing the City Council and City Manager initiatives.  We tried to capture all the projects we worked on, and they were SPLOST projects and SPLOST is so important for the community.

Ms. Lawrence turned the presentation over to Carol Moon, one of the project managers working on Central Precinct.

Carol Moon, Project Manager, provided Council with an overview of Central Precinct which will be a new permanent police precinct station, replacing the leased facility on Bull Street. The new address will be 1710 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. The Project Team is Hussey Gay Bell Architects, Johnson Laux Construction is the contractor. Ms. Moon reviewed the timeline of the project with Council. She stated the estimated construction completion date is May 31st with furniture installation and owner move in estimated for June. The project was budgeted at $9.1 million, estimated coming in actual under budget by approximately $800,000.

Alderman Miller stated some things were cut out due to budget, and asked if they can be put back. Ms. Moon replied we cut out square footage, programming of the precinct was not affected. On the east end there is room for future expansion. Those were conversations with the police department. She stated staff worked with the department on determining their needs.

City Manager Hernandez stated Chief Lumpkin signed off on all the changes. The community room was made a little bit smaller.

Ms. Moon stated the Pennsylvania Avenue Resource Center (PARC) is moving along great. Construction completion is estimated for completion in mid-April and owner move in mid-May.

City Manager Hernandez stated those two buildings will basically be ready to go around the same time, we will be busy with groundbreakings and openings this summer.

Bret Bell, Assistant to the City Manager stated the latest information can be found on the website at: www.savannahga.gov/savannahunderconstruction

Ms. Lawrence stated looking ahead at 2019, Waters Avenue Phase 2 is underway; Cann Park Walking Trail is underway, Sylvan Terrace Bollards is underway, Visitor Center Parking Lot has already been completed; Rousakis Plaza Electric Improvements are pending and will start in the 1st quarter, State Street Garage Envelope Repairs begin in March. Second quarter projects, Broughton Street Streetscapes, one bid came in for $18.9 million, but the estimate was $17 million.

Alderman Thomas asked what was decided. Ms. Lawrence replied we decided to put it out for bid and see what came back, we included deductive alternates.

Ms. Lawrence continued with the 2nd quarter projects: Augusta Avenue Streetscapes and Stratford Park are being priced. Savannah Shines, playground already installed and sidewalks and irrigation being worked on.

Alderman Hall asked when the dedication will be. City Manager Hernandez replied staff will work with him once they get it under full control.

2nd quarter projects continued: Whitaker Street Sidewalk improvements going out to bid soon.  City Facilities at Interchange Court to go out to bid in March.

City Manager Hernandez added this relocates the City Lot.

Alderman Miller asked what will be done with the City Lot? City Manager Hernandez replied we have to eventually move from the City Lot, additional developers can be brought in until we vacate it.

He stated it will become part of the Canal District, outdoor plazas, and two large building pads, and a street or promenade coming off of Stiles Avenue.

Alderman Miller asked what will be done with the Waterworks Building. City Manager Hernandez stated it will be restored and the building converted into special event and/or restaurant, or meeting space.

Ms. Lawrence continued reviewing the 2nd quarter projects which included: Holly Heights Park, Eastern Wharf Dock Repairs (on Council agenda today), Gangway Platform Replacement (next Council agenda), Caretaker’s Cottage Restoration (currently in the value engineering stage, Bryan Street Garage Spall Repair, River Street Visitors Center Interior Renovation (on Council agenda).

Ms. Lawrence then reviewed the 3rd quarter projects which included: Mohawk Park, Summerside Park, Highlands Fire Station, Riverwalk Extension, and City Hall 3rd Floor Offices.

Alderman Thomas asked the purpose of the 3rd floor City Hall renovations.

City Manager Hernandez replied to bring it up to today’s code, removing walls added in the 40s-50s, moving City Attorney from the Gamble Building, and the remaining offices will be for the Aldermen.

Alderman Thomas asked and this will be done in the 3rd quarter. City Manager Hernandez replied the funding is already there, it’s just a matter of scheduling. Alderman Thomas requested to see the design.

Alderwoman Bell asked for specifics on the restoration. City Manager Hernandez replied there will be a restoration of the original walls and using dirt walls, restroom renovation, repairing and restoring windows, and a unisex restroom.

Alderwoman Shabazz asked if there will be eight spaces. City Manager Hernandez replied yes, there will be a workspace for everyone.

Ms. Lawrence noted that all projects were not mentioned.

Alderman Miller commended Ms. Lawrence on a job well done and acknowledged Chief Lloyd for his role.  

Alderman Durrence stated in December the Metropolitan Planning Organization had about $4 million dollars that had to be reallocated or it would have been lost and Chief Lloyd got proposals and the City was awarded $2 million to go towards the Truman Trail and DeLesseps Path.

Alderwoman Shabazz stated she sits on the board with Alderman Durrence and it has really become an eye opener to her about the funds.

7. Executive Session: Real Estate, Personnel, Litigation

Upon motion of Alderman Miller, seconded by Alderman Durrence, and unanimously carried Council went into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing Real Estate, Litigation and Personnel.

Upon completion of this session, a motion was made to come out of Executive Session by Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Thomas, and unanimously carried.

8. City Council Agenda Review

City Manager Rob Hernandez presented the City Manager’s Briefing of the agenda items for the Council Meeting of February 28, 2019. The agenda can be found online and will be made a part of the permanent record.

There being no further business, Mayor DeLoach declared this meeting of Council adjourned.

The video recording of the Work Session can be found by copying and pasting the below link in your url:


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