Part of the fun of any “Top Whatever” list is arguing about it. You can get some of that action this year by hotly debating our own staff–picked list of the Top 20 local news and cultural happenings of the past year, presented here in order of impact, total buzzworthiness, and general all–around wow factor:
1. President Obama visits Savannah
Like him or not, undoubtedly the biggest overall story of the year was the president’s visit to Savannah, which drew supporters and protestors alike to line White Bluff Road on a cold, damp morning.
On March 2, Obama came to Savannah to announce a new energy saving rebate program called HomeStar. Several hundred lucky attendees, including a bevy of state and local politicians, business leaders and prominent community members, packed the Savannah Tech campus for the announcement.
The details of the new program were overshadowed by coverage of his traditional Southern lunch at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House, a choice which seemed to be in conflict with Michelle Obama’s recently announced campaign against obesity. The meal, which included fried chicken, yams, black–eyed peas and banana pudding, was the closing story on several national networks’ evening news programs.
Probably fighting the urge to nap after such a big lunch, the president also managed to make stops at the federally funded YouthBuild program office and the newly opened Meddin Studios production facility on Louisville Road.
Though Obama’s was widely reported in other local media outlets as the first presidential visit to Savannah since Truman, the easily documentable truth of the matter is that George H.W. Bush made a campaign stop on River Street when running for re–election in ’92 and George W. Bush held a press conference on Hutchinson Island following the close of the G–8 Summit in ’04. – Patrick Rodgers
2. City Manager Michael Brown resigns
He was such a civic institution for so long that it seemed like Michael Brown was originally hired by Oglethorpe himself. But the former city manager “only” held the job for 15 years before his resignation in May. During that decade and a half, the Virginia native brought a new professionalism and an expansive (though some would just call it “expensive”) civic vision to Savannah.
Detractors will point out various Brown–authored boondoggles, such as Savannah River Landing, obligating city taxpayers to carry the debt of questionable investments (see item 20 on our list).
That said, Forsyth Park upgrades, the Ellis Square renaissance, the city/county police consolidation, and most especially the dramatic drainage improvements are very real and very overdue parts of Brown’s positive legacy.
But after leaving Savannah, things turned a little strange for this technocrat of few words who largely eschewed the media spotlight. Just a few months after returning to Virginia to take a job as Arlington County manager, Brown stepped down, citing his wife’s poor health.
However, the news soon broke that the Arlington County Board actually forced him out, citing a “poor fit” (though that didn’t keep them from giving him a fat severance package.)
For a brief time, the performance of his momentary successor, Acting City Manager Rochelle Small–Toney, prompted a few predictable cries of “Bring Michael Brown back,” given that Brown was apparently free to return.
But cooler heads prevailed, and the truth has set in that for better or worse, Brown is gone, baby, gone. — Jim Morekis
3. 'Extreme Makeover' comes to Savannah
The mint green house at the corner of Abercorn and 55th will forever be known as “the Extreme Makeover house,” after several weeks of Savannah’s collective life was taken over by the much–beloved reality TV show.
A key portion of one of Savannah’s most–trafficked streets, Abercorn, was blocked off for the frenzy of round–the–clock construction and all–around amateur paparazzi activity. Local media gave breathless, up-to-the minute progress reports on framing and drywall.
Lucky recipients of the show’s and the community’s largesse — which included not only the new house but college scholarships and iPads — were the Simpson family, whose adorable two–year–old special needs child was a focus of attention.
In the meantime, host Ty Pennington enjoyed himself at local clubs, including the great Black Lips show at the Jinx.
The truly massive outpouring of local volunteerism was proof positive that neighborliness isn’t dead — it’s just more or less entirely dependent on reality TV to get it going! — JM
4. Tybee tasing
In one of the most “electrifying” stories of the year (sorry, too soon?), the tasing of an autistic teenager on Tybee led to the resignation of the police chief and the conviction of two local police officers for falsifying a police report — as well as a quarter million dollar civil settlement.
After this summer’s Beach Bum Parade on May 21, 18–year–old autistic man Clifford Grevemberg was outside a Tybee club when his unusual behavior led to him being tased twice by two officers. A witness, however, insisted that Grevemberg, who wasn’t intoxicated at the time, also wasn’t resisting the officers. (Charges against Grevemberg were later dropped.)
The officers involved in the tasing, Travis Daniels and Timothy Sullivan, were suspended and later resigned; a third officer who was involved also resigned. Daniels and Sullivan also ended up pleading guilty to making false statements to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation about the presence of a third officer on the scene. (Their sentence was four years, but it was immediately suspended.)
Veteran Tybee Police Chief Jimmy Price was also suspended in the wake of the incident. He retired right after the indictments of Daniels and Sullivan were announced, about three months after the fateful tasing. — JM
5. Ron Higgins 1965–2010
Ron Higgins was one of those rare people who not only made something of himself, but was dedicated to self–improvement. To making something more.
The news that the 45–year–old founder and CEO of Savannah Movie Tours had died sometime during the night of June 14, spread through the city like wildfire. Higgins, it turned out, had made friends in every profession, every social stratum, of both sexes and all races.
Even today, six months after his death, people are still writing “Miss you” and recounting Ron stories on his Facebook page.
Although no autopsy was performed, the family believes he died of a heart attack. An older brother also had heart problems.
“If you gave me a million guesses, Ron would not have been in the first million,” says sister Jaime V. Higgins, who lives in Washington, D.C.. “It was just unbelievable.”
Ron and Jaime had exchanged text messages just the night before. “We were excited about True Blood starting,” she laughs.
Obsessed with the movie business, Higgins started his own enterprise as an on–foot tour, taking customers around the city and pointing out where scenes from famous movies (some of which he’d worked on as a crew member) were shot.
By 2008, he had an air–conditioned 16–seat luxury coach, with several DVD players, and ran other coach tours encompassing Savannah food, specialty shopping, ghosts and martini bars.
Higgins was named Entrepreneur of the Year 2006: Most Unique Business, by the City of Savannah’s Entrepreneur Center, Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 from Cumulus Broadcasting, and Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 from the Savannah Chamber of Commerce.
He was in the process of expanding his business – the family continues to keep it going by “capturing his vision and executing his plans” – and was determined to assemble a scriptwriting and film appreciation association.
And there were other things on his mind, says Jaime Higgins. “Two years ago, he told me ‘I’ve really put my heart and soul into my business, and I’ve neglected my health. I’m gonna start working out and I’m gonna start losing weight.’
“He said ‘I’m ready to get married. And hot chicks don’t like fat guys.’”
He went to yoga five days a week, watched his calorie intake, exercised and lost 80 pounds. Jaime believes that if he hadn’t started looking after his health, he would have died sooner.
“The Friday before he passed, several people saw him running,” she says. “And he told them ‘I’m training. I told my sister I was gonna run the Army 10–Miler with her this year.’”
Meanwhile, she says, “We are hanging in there. We miss him dearly; I don’t even know how to describe it. My mom is, of course, still broken–hearted. That was her baby.”
“But every time we talk about him, it’s always a funny joke. No one’s really weepy or anything like that. It’s always a funny story that kind of keeps us going. And if you knew Ron, there’s plenty of those.” – Bill DeYoung
6. Bandshell, baby!
Savannah has a new architectural landmark.
The long–awaited, long–promised Forsyth Park Bandshell finally debuted in February with a community event, but it wasn’t until the SCAD graduation concert – May 28, featuring G. Love and Special Sauce with Galactic – that the multi–million dollar structure was tested in front of a really big crowd.
Technically, the bandshell itself is the retractable roof covering the ornate, white–columned stage. But the stage is new, too, as are the lighted water fountains and the visitor’s center.
The $5 million renovation of the Forsyth fort – constructed in 1915 to train the Georgia National Guard – began in 2008. Its arrival was a cause for celebration at the Coastal Jazz Association, which had been using a temporary stage for its annual Savannah Jazz Festival in front of the rotting fort since the early ‘90s.
“That probably ran us about $5,000 a year,” says festival chairman Skip Jennings. “And a lot of that was labor, because they’d have to start setting it up on Wednesday to have the stage ready for the sound systems on Thursday.”
Last September’s Jazz Fest, with Spyro Gyra headlining, was not without its production headaches. “We had to build the scaffolding on either side of the bandshell for flying thePA speakers.”
The elaborate water fountain, too, made positioning equipment tricky.
“I’ll say this: It looks really nice from out in the crowd,” Jennings says. “And it gives the performance space more identity. It’s almost like a new theater has opened up in town.”
Both audience and performers, he adds, seemed to enjoy the first foray into festival jazz.
However. “To me, it does not seem to have been designed with production in mind,” Jennings says. “The frustrating thing is, it could have been so much nicer, so much better.
“The fountain in front of it is a horrible thing. Not only is it stupid, it’s dangerous. And it’s like having a moat between the performance space and the audience.” — BDY
7. Budgeting and pay raises
From the moment the 2010 budget passed, it was clear that the 2011 budget process would be one of the big stories of the year. It didn’t disappoint.
With tax revenues in decline, the budget outlook quickly went from bad to worse, and by the end of summer City Council had to vote on a small increase in the millage rate to fill a gap in the current year’s budget.
Around the same time, acting City Manager Rochelle Small–Toney told department heads to revise their budget requests to reflect an 18 percent reduction in funding for 2011.
That might have gone over better except that news broke about a series of pay raises for executive city staff. City Council members responded that the raises had been cleared by former City Manager Michael Brown prior to his departure and without their knowledge. (The city’s charter gives the City Manager exclusive control over spending).
Once it came time for the annual budget retreat in October, the meetings had to be delayed because the budget wasn’t ready. That led to an additional set of meetings and considerable grumbling the following week.
When the smoke cleared, the changes that drew the most attention were recommendations not to fund Picnic in the Park and the annual Asian Festival (both had reduced funding restored at the request of council), the slashing of the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority’s budget by 60 percent and the restructuring the Film and Tourism Office (discussions of which were clouded by misunderstandings about the actual terms of the changes).
Finally, the 2011 budget passed a vote during the City Council meeting on December 16. — PR
8. Smoke–free ordinance
New Year’s Eve will be the last chance for smokers at bars to light up indoors in Savannah – the result of a hard fought battle between public health advocates and local nightlife enthusiasts.
The issue was first raised in May by the Healthy Savannah Initiative and within a matter of weeks, banning smoking had become a lightning rod at public meetings during the dog days of summer.
Although smoking indoors, particularly at restaurants had been addressed by state legislation in 2005, that law left a loop hole for bars.
Supporters of the new ordinance, which was backed by anti–smoking interest groups, argued that allowing smoking was exposing employees – from bartenders to fire marshals – to dangerous second hand smoke against their will.
The opposition, which consisted of a mix of bar owners and Libertarians, argued that besides being an affront on personal freedoms, pushing smokers outside would be bad for bar business and cause an increase in litter from cigarette butts.
The new rule added fuel to the fire for opposition claims that the current city council has spent considerably more time regulating bars than anything else. Over the last several years, changes have included the bar card system, the hybrid liquor license and raising the age of admittance from 18 to 21 at clubs with live music that serve alcohol.
After impassioned debate from both sides, the ordinance passed a vote by the mayor and council in late August.
We’ll find out soon enough who was right. The ordinance, which only affects bars within the Savannah’s city limits, takes effect January 1. — PR
9: Muse: ‘Support Local Awesome’
It appears that JinHi Soucy Rand, who’s been working in the theater arts here for nearly 20 years, has become the performance stage’s guardian angel. Last March, she renovated the space at 703D Louisville Road – the old Freight Station – re–named it Indigo Arts, and invited anyone and everyone to rent the room and put on whatever kind of shows floated their boats.
This occurred after the long–lived Little Theatre of Savannah went into hibernation, and the Savannah Community Theatre and others cut back on productions.
There have been more than 140 performances at Muse Arts Warehouse (as Rand re–named it) since the place opened. She happily reports that a new, one–year lease has been signed and secured.
Rand says she’s been most enthused by the growing number of collaborations between artists and performers from different disciplines. “I am looking forward to seeing more of that in 2011,” she exclaims.
“A friend (we all debate who it was – I say it was Darwin Hull) coined a phrase that many of us repeat: ‘Support Local Awesome.’ I’m encouraged by the growing number of people here who seem to be getting it.”
Rand herself handles the bookings, upkeep and day–to–day dealings with Savannah’s creative types, along with her husband, actor Mark Rand. She directed just one show in 2010 – the recent hit A Christmas Story – but welcomed in plays from The Collective Face, Fair Weather Productions and numerous others.
Jim Reed’s “Movies Savannah Missed” series found a waiting home at Muse, and has become one of the city’s most well–attended repeating events.
There have been art and photography shows, many musical concerts and special one–time events; Mondays are reserved for the Odd Lot, an improv comedy group.
“I really am constantly amazed and humbled by the amount of talent and creative energy there is in Savannah,” says Rand, “and I am very excited to be able to continue to provide our comfy little space to showcase it.” — BDY
10. Crime’s ups and downs
Since Chief Willie Lovett took the SCMPD reins from predecessor Michael Berkow, there’s been a steady decrease in crime across most of Savannah. That’s something we were glad to hear in 2010.
Through the first 50 weeks of the year violent crime is down 25 percent over 2009 levels to date and property crime is down 14 percent, according to stats provided by the police department.
Most notable amongst the list of bad things people do to one another: Homicide and rape are both down almost 30 percent from 2009 levels; theft from vehicles is down more than 20 percent and commercial burglary is down more than 30 percent.
That impressive accomplishment was offset, however, by a quick succession of highly publicized murders in the otherwise quiet Southside neighborhood of Windsor Forest.
Those murders, and the resulting public outcry, lead to a community meeting at the Armstrong Center, hosted by 6th District Alderman Tony Thomas, that was so well attended it was standing room only and required a second meeting to accommodate those who couldn’t fit into the first meeting.
Since then, re–vitalized efforts by neighborhood watches and community groups seems to have kept things under control for the most part. — PR
11. Micheal Elliott resigns from Union Mission
After 23 years with the homeless advocacy organization, Union Mission Executive Director Rev. Micheal Elliott (yes, that’s how he spells his first name) resigned in June after a prolonged difference of opinion with the board of directors.
While Union Mission itself has been around since 1936, for most Savannahians it was virtually synonymous with the garrulous and eclectic Elliott, who combined a passion for serving the underserved with a born technocrat’s ability to manage details.
Along the way Union Mission not only fed the homeless, but provided them with health care and job training to end their vicious cycle.
One of his crowning achievements was helping to open the affiliated J.C. Lewis Health Center, one of a handful of local low–cost medical clinics serving the homeless and underprivileged. But in a move which directly contradicts Elliott’s holistic “one stop shop” philosophy, the Lewis Center was recently split off from Union Mission, a development Elliott chalks up to an attempt to make grants more easily obtainable.
“Governments operate and allocate money in silos from one another,” Elliott explained in a post at his blog at http://micheal–elliott.blogspot.com. “It is ironic that government demands local efforts form collaborative partnerships to receive money but they themselves are incapable of working together. Their policies and rules conflict with one another.... Millions are wasted treating individual symptoms and the need never diminishes...if someone is trying to accomplish more than the policies call for then that is against the rules and funding is reduced. Do it the government way, funding can go up.” — JM
12: Truman Parkway final leg begins
After literally decades of being the punchline to a local joke about local apathy and incompetence, the Harry S. Truman Parkway had the last laugh this year when work began on the fifth and final leg of the north/south thoroughfare.
Contrary to popular opinion, the new funding was not part of President Obama’s much–maligned stimulus package. The $128 million from the Georgia Department of Transportation was a Christmas present for Chatham County in 2009, with land–clearing beginning this year.
One of only a few county–maintained freeways in the U.S., the Truman was originally named the Casey Canal Parkway for the adjacent waterway. However, the former president’s death in 1972 inspired the renaming. Yes, that’s how long the Truman has been a work in progress! — JM
13. Killer live shows!
Although it’s not yet the metropolitan cultural hub we’ve all been hoping for, Savannah is coming into its own as a town where more and more big–name and buzzworthy performers stop in with frequency.
In 2010, we got three of the buzziest bands on the festival circuit (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes at the Trustees Theater, the Avett Brothers at the Johnny Mercer, and the Hold Steady at the Live Wire), an innovative electronica trio (Yeasayer, also at the Trustees) and, as part of the Savannah Music Festival, shows from the unassailable Wilco (Mercer) and the tres chic twosome She & Him (Trustees).
G. Love and Special Sauce played the SCAD graduation concert in Forsyth Park, Spyro Gyra headlined the Savannah Jazz Festival in the park, and the country music juggernaut Sugarland paid a visit to the Martin Luther King Arena.
Or downtown clubs steadily booked amazing rock, Americana, metal and electronica bands from all over the country, and Randy Wood Guitars had another great lineup of A–list acoustic and bluegrass performers.
The Johnny Mercer Theatre, meanwhile, continued its streak of putting the spotlight on yesterday’s acts. Gordon Lightfoot, Kenny Rogers and B.B. King all played the theater this year – and folks, they’ve got a combined age of 228. — BDY
14. Eric Johnson’s gubernatorial run
After more than a decade and a half of service in the state legislature, including playing an integral role in the state Republican Party’s decisive power grab that’s pushed the Ga. GOP from also–rans to a dominant political force, local politician Eric Johnson made a run for the governor’s seat this year.
Judging by the expansive field of primary candidates, a few colleagues also heard opportunity knocking with the departure of two–term incumbent Sonny Perdue. The primary field was seven deep, and included notables like Secretary of State Karen Handel, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and former Congressman (and current Governor–elect) Nathan Deal.
Coastal Georgia candidates don’t have a great track record when it comes to running for state office –– lacking the name recognition and population base of North Georgia politicos –– but Johnson fared better than most bookies would’ve given odds for his campaign. He placed third in the primary, just a couple percentage points shy of a spot in the run–off between Handel and Deal.
Now that the dust of a rigorous election season has settled, even though Johnson won’t be seated in the legislature or the governor’s mansion, he won’t be far from the capital building’s gold dome. It’s been reported that he will have at least a part time gig lobbying the Republican–dominated state houses with a government relations firm called McGuireWoods Consulting. — PR
15. April Johnston on 'Project Runway'
Savannah’s April Johnston was eliminated in the 12th episode of the just–finished eighth season of Project Runway. The spunky 22–year–old’s innovative black designs took her out in front of such also–rans as Casanova, Peach, Ivy and Valerie.
But it was Gretchen Jones, the mouthy and much–disliked Oregonian “villain” of the season, who came away victorious.
Ah, reality TV.
“You know what you’re signing up for, so that’s the chance you take,” reflects Johnston, who’s back home now and preparing a collection for Charleston Fashion Week. “I took it. What I really wanted out of it was the exposure, and that’s what I got.”
She also got plenty of the egotistical Gretchen.
“Some of the things that she would say, I would think ‘Are you crazy? Why would you just say that?’” Johnston recalls.
“She’d say something later, in the confession room, and we’d go ‘That’s completely different than what she told me to my face.’ But there are people like that in the world, unfortunately. It’s not just Gretchen.”
Johnston believes the show – which was taped over six weeks last summer – is edited in such a way that contestants’ bitchiness – real or imagined – is over–emphasized. “But like I said, we all knew what we were signing up for.”
She got the boot during the We’re in a New York State of Mind episode, which aired Oct. 14.
“I was a little bit surprised,” she says, “because I thought that what I created for that challenge was really true to me. And I thought it was something that might not have been seen before. It was a little bit more complex than a few other things that were out there, and I thought that would have saved me at least, even if they didn’t like it – they could see past that, and see the craftsmanship that was put into it.”
But the judges showed her the door, leaving Mondo, Michael C., Andy and Gretchen to go the last few rounds.
Several contestants, including Johnston, were given the opportunity to show their designs at a special Lincoln Center show, and again during New York’s Fashion Week.
“I think that was pretty much the win for me right there,” she says. “I don’t care about winning – I want to be able to show.”
For now, she’s selling her clothes at the BleuBelle Boutique on Broughton Street.
“I’m just looking to do my own thing in Savannah, and stay local, and stay personal,” she explains. “And have clients that are interested in one–of–a–kind things.” — BDY
16. National Book Awards come to O’Connor Home
The unpretentious little townhouse on Lafayette Square where Flannery O’Connor grew up is still, through no fault of the people in charge of it, largely unknown to most Savannah residents.
But that seems to be the fate of O’Connor, a Savannah native and one of the most influential of all American writers. Like so many successful Savannahians, she is more appreciated outside her hometown than she ever was within it.
That national recognition led to the O’Connor Childhood Home receiving the altogether awesome honor of hosting the October announcement of finalists for the National Book Awards, which stands alongside the Pulitzer Prize as the highest literary honor the United States bestows.
On hand to make the announcements in the charming but tiny parlor on Charlton Street was legendary author Pat Conroy, who though making his fame writing about the South Carolina Lowcountry is actually a Georgia native himself.
Calling the O’Connor home “sacred ground in one of the temples of world literature,” Conroy said “the day I read A Good Man Is Hard to Find on my porch in Beaufort, South Carolina, was the turning point in both my reading and my writing life. I was never the same after I began to read Flannery O’Connor. Great writing always changes people’s lives, and changes them forever.” — JM
17. Zarem honored at Film Festival
Native Savannahian and groundbreaking publicist extraordinaire Bobby Zarem received a Lifetime Achievement Award at November’s Savannah Film Festival, an event which quite literally wouldn’t be nearly the success it is without his hard work and expertise in the field.
Though defiantly pushing back at the idea that he is retiring from the movie business, Zarem is indeed relocating back to his hometown from New York. During his tempestuous, historic career in the Big Apple, Zarem created the template for the hard–charging movie publicist – legend has it that Al Pacino played a character based on him in a movie – and was even responsible for dreaming up the immortal “I Love New York” advertising campaign.
For Savannah, though, Zarem’s legacy will be the ongoing excellence of the SCAD–organized Savannah Film Festival, which like Zarem himself stakes its reputation on quality, informality, and most of all, a warm, friendly, and deeply personal appeal. — JM
18. Sand Gnats rise to glory
Having spent more than a decade as lovable losers – a.k.a. perennial underdogs – the Sand Gnats’ success in 2010 was definitely newsworthy.
Fueled by some front office changes, as well as outstanding play from rising stars Mark Cohoon (pitcher) and Wilmer Flores (short stop), among others, the Gnats won the first half championship in the South Atlantic League Southern Division, edging out the Augusta Greenjackets for the title. It had been 16 years since they last won a championship.
After a shaky second half, the Gnats went on to compete for the division championship in September, which they lost in a heartbreaker to the Greenville Drive. It was Savannah’s first appearance in the playoffs since 1996, when they were the Savannah Cardinals.
The team made headlines for more than just their exceptional play though. There was also the “Man on Fire” promotion, when world record holding stuntman Ted Batchelor ran the bases engulfed in flames. “Man on Fire” was recognized by ESPN the Magazine as Promotion of the Year amongst minor league baseball teams (and there was some tough competition, including a “Big Lebowski Tribute” by the Bowie Bay Sox).
The success has earned the Gnats a two year extension of their player development contract with the Mets, so keep on eye on them in 2011. — PR
19. Jim Holt’s comeback and a local theatre renaissance
After a three–year hiatus, during which founder Jim Holt tried teaching school but couldn’t resist the siren song of the stage, City Lights Theater Company returned in 2010.
Holt, who’d been a mainstay on the Savannah scene for many years, came out of the box with three of his own, self–penned, plays: Open House, Three Picassos and Sleeping Indoors. He directed the shows, and co–starred in two of them.
As the new year dawns, Holt is weighing where to go next. “I’m hoping to produce all original works, or at least plays that haven’t been done in Savannah before,” he says.
“I’m looking at a pile of scripts right now – I wasn’t sure any would come in, but over the last three or four weeks I got a stack of ‘em.”
The year also saw the ascendancy of The Collective Face, a theater co–op formed by Savannah State theater prof David Poole, actor Richie Cook and others.
Several of the year’s finest dramatic shows – Frozen, The Swan, Enchanted April and, most spectacularly, The Glass Menagerie – were Collective Face productions.
“We’re hoping to attract people who want to work with us as actors, as directors, as designers,” explained co–founder Kristen Long. “Because it is a collective. We want to make sure that lots of local artists, from different disciplines, know that they’re welcome with us and that we’re certainly seeking their talents.” — BDY
20. Savannah River Landing’s epic fail
If you only saw the billboard that still stands along President Street proclaiming “Move Here in 2010” you might have thought that Savannah River Landing had spent the year welcoming new residents to the development.
The sign also says “Make a statement with your new office.” What it fails to mention is that the statement you’ll be making is that your office exists in a Mad Max–esque, post–apocalyptic ant hill bordering a multi–million dollar “River Walk to Nowhere.”
What makes Savannah River Landing so notable in 2010 is its now certain designation as the area’s most epic fail. The retail portion of the development, once pitched as “The Shops at Savannah River Landing” by developers, was slated to open in 2009.
It wasn’t the new development’s one year anniversary celebration but the river walk extension that made news in 2010.
The City went back and forth with engineers about who was to blame for the tectonic shifting going on beneath the land where the sidewalk ends.
Without development, the open field will cost local taxpayers more than a million dollars per year for the next 20 years.
By the way, don’t bother trying to call the phone number on the sign, it’s been disconnected. — PR
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