The work session and City Manager’s briefing was held at 4:30 p.m.  Mayor Johnson recognized Alderman Purtee to offer an invocation.



PRESENT: Mayor Van R. Johnson, II, Presiding

Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter, At-Large, Post 1, Chairman

Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely, At-Large, Post 2

Alderwoman Bernetta B. Lanier, District 1

Alderman Detric Leggett, District  2

Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan, District 3

Alderman Nick Palumbo, District 4, Vice-Chairman

Alderwoman Dr. Estella Edwards Shabazz, District 5, Mayor Pro-Tem

Alderman Kurtis Purtee, District 6


City Manager Joseph A. Melder

Chief of Staff Daphanie Williams

City Attorney Bates Lovett

Clerk of Council Mark Massey

Deputy Clerk of Council Margaret Fox

Workshop Agenda Items
1. I-16 Exit Ramp Removal (Presentation by Members of the Historic Savannah Foundation Coalition)
I-16 Exit Ramp Removal Presentation

Mayor Johnson indicated the presentation is for informational purposes only and no action is needed by Council.

City Manager Melder gave the background history of the proposed exit ramp removal going back several years.  He introduced Richard Shinhoster, co-chairs Ellen Harris and Denise Grabowski for the presentation of the I-16 Flyover project.

Following the presentation, there were discussions and questions from Council:


  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked what will happen to the Earl Shinhoster name (he will have a Square), how many communites were lost when the flyover was created (Frogtown & Currytown), speak to the barriers created (not inviting and does not feel safe), what will happen to Frazier & Kayton Homes (managed by Housing Authority).
  • Mayor Johnson stated this is an opportunity for the City to reclaim eight acres.  At that time, the Council will decide the use of that property.
  • Alderman Palumbo asked what are the opportunities for the eight acres once it reverts back to the City. He would like to see Union Station reestablished in the community (unlimited opportunities, Council can decide how it wants to use the property).
  • Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan would like to see a revitalization of a vibrant business and housing area.
  • Alderwoman Lanier is pleased to see the eight acres of prime real estate revert back to the City.  When urban renewal was established in prior years, it created disparites and changed the landscape of the area.  The City will have an opportunity to rebuild the area with community benefit agreements.  An effort should be made to have more diversity and equity on the committee.
  • Alderwoman Gibson-Carter discussed the differences between 'reclaiming W. Broad Street vs reclaiming MLK Jr. Blvd'; workforce housing; the surrounding neighborhoods; assurances for minority & black-owned businesses in the area being a part of the development; and the committee working with City Manager Melder and staff to make assurances stronger.  She read a quote from John D. Rockafeller.
  • Mayor Johnson indicated some of the projects are public-private developments and are governed by State law and stated there are no plans to change the name of MLK, Jr. Blvd.
  • Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz recommended the City go back and have discussions with the City Manager and staff, MPO Board & MPC to identify prorities for the community and the City.

Mayor Johnson thanked the presenters and explained the purpose for the presentation.  He asked the other members of the Coalition Committee to stand:  Henry Reid, SDRA; Richard Shinholster; Susan Meyers, ex MPC employee; Ardis Wood, Chair of Scenic Chatham;  Steve Stoures, Businessman & Architect; and Sue Adler, CEO & President of Historic Savannah Foundation.

Mayor Johnson indicated there will be no decisions until Federal funds are received.  At that time, Council will decide on a development plan.


2. Discussion regarding Board Appointments
SEDA_rotating extra seat-position.pdf
20220127_Savannah Economic Development Authority.pdf

Discussed before Item #1.

Mayor and Council nominated citizens from a list of twenty-one (21) applicants.  The support of at least five (5) Council Members are needed for membership.   On recommendation of City Manager Melder, the Development Impact Fee Advisory Committee (DIFAC) will be a seven (7) member committee.

The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) has one vacancy.  

The following applicants received the necessary support.  The applicant names will be referred to the Regular Council Meeting Agenda for approval/confirmation.


 Development Impact Fee Advisory Committee (DIFAC)

  • James J. Collins (D2), received November 29, 2021
  • Jack B. Wardlaw (County Resident), received December 1, 2021
  • Tomeca McPherson (D3), received December 9, 2021
  • Patrick Shay (D2), received December 13, 2021
  • Dwayne Stephens (D1), received January 21, 2022
  • Melissa D. Phillips (County Resident), received January 25, 2022
  • Monica D. Mastrianni (D2), received January 26, 2022


Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA)

  • Audrey D. King (D1), received December 3, 2021


Mayor Johnson adjourned the Workshop at 5:41 p.m.


A video recording of the workshop can be found by copying and inserting the link below in your url:




Mark Massey, Clerk of Council


Date Minutes Approved:      February 10, 2022  


Signature:    MM  

Agenda Plus