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CITY TALK: New charter school, Savannah Philharmonic enliven Bull Street

The Bull Street corridor south of Forsyth Park is usually quiet on Sunday afternoons.
 
But not last Sunday.
 
The Savannah Philharmonic hosted “Philharmonic in the Streetz” at Tricks Barbecue at the corner of Bull and 42nd streets. There was such a good crowd that I forgot to do my usual event headcount.
 
Some of the Philharmonic’s brass musicians performed, as did Laiken Love and The Fellowship of Love and an ensemble led by Ricardo Ochoa. Magic Marc Dunston emceed and did some nifty tricks, and Leopold’s Ice Cream showed up with free treats.
 
And, of course, there was the wonderful BBQ from Tricks. The $10 rib dinner is enough food for two, but there was no way I was sharing.
 
There was also some uncharacteristic Sunday afternoon activity in the gym of the historic school building at the corner of Bull and 34th streets.
 
The event was an open house for the Susie King Taylor Community School, a K-8 charter school planning to open in fall 2017.
 
The new school is expecting final state approval in February and is negotiating to lease the site of the open house – the historic school next to Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The building was home to the original Benedictine College, which left the neighborhood more than 50 years ago, and was most recently occupied by Notre Dame Academy, which closed in 2015.
 
Susie King Taylor is an iconic figure in the history of the Georgia coast. At the age of 13, before the Civil War was even over, she was teaching newly freed black students in a school on St. Simons Island, which was under the control of Union forces.
 
In 2016, it looked likely that the building would be sold, possibly for a condominium development, but that prospect didn’t sit well with members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church who want the site to remain active as a school.
 
I’ve written approximately one million columns calling for greater residential density in the downtown area, and I live just a couple blocks away from the planned site for the Susie King Taylor Community School. Condos would have been preferable to many other uses, but if the building had been converted to residential, it would probably never be a school again.
 
Sunday’s open house featured general information about the new school plus a chance for visitors to interact with some of the school’s community partners, including Oatland Island Wildlife Center, storyteller J’miah Nabawi, Farm to School, Historic Savannah Foundation, Davenport House and blacksmith Gilbert Walker.
 
Susie King Taylor Community School is now accepting applications for grades K through 4. For more information, check out the website at https://www.sktcs.org.
 
 
 
City Talk appears every Sunday and Tuesday. Bill Dawers can be reached via billdawers@comcast.net. Send mail to 10 E. 32nd St., Savannah, GA 31401.

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