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City Talk

City Talk appears every Tuesday and Sunday - Email me. Send mail to 10 East 32nd St., Savannah, Ga. 31401.

CITY TALK: Job numbers are still generally strong

The unemployment rate for the Savannah metro area (Chatham, Bryan and Effingham counties) has trended slightly higher over the last couple of months, but the increase can be attributed to predictable seasonal trends.

CITY TALK: Street fair brings new visitors to Wells Park

When I arrived at the big street fair last Saturday in Wells Park, a handful of protestors were sharing their objections to the entire event with the aid of a megaphone.

The “Cool Communities in Hot Savannah” fair was sponsored by the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority, but the protestors’ anger was directed more broadly at city government’s neglect of the neighborhood.

CITY TALK: Street fair brings new visitors to Wells Park

CITY TALK: Savannah's Hang Fire is on the move, but we don't know where

Hang Fire’s lease at 37 Whitaker St. expires at the end of the month, so the owners have announced a party for Aug. 29. The 11 acts slated to perform include the first band the bar hosted — the iconic Savannah rock band Superhorse.

CITY TALK: New restaurant, Bo Bien Hut, comes to Tybee with new concept

On a recent Tuesday evening, a friend and I drove to Tybee Island to check out Bo Bien Hut, the Asian fusion restaurant that opened in July. Sure, it’s still August, but the summer beach bustle has already faded. The vacation season isn’t entirely over, but with many schools back in session, Tybee is a lot quieter than it was a couple of weeks ago.

Photo via

CITY TALK: A wonky preview of the 2015 Savannah city election

Savannah city elections are less than three months away, and here’s City Talk’s wonky overview. Of the nine sitting council members, all are running for re-election except for Alderman At-Large Tom Bordeaux.

CITY TALK: Food trucks are coming to Savannah, but how soon?

We’re a little late to the game, but the city of Savannah is finally crafting an ordinance that should foster a more vibrant culture of food trucks.

Savannah Morning News file photo The Bean Scene coffee and lemonade cart on Wright Square, shown here in 2005, is the rare mobile food unit allowed under city ordinance. The truck is owned by an existing business owner, Smooth's Susan Jaffie, who has access to a commercial kitchen to prepare food.

CITY TALK: Another successful First Friday Art March in the books

When Art Rise Savannah launched the monthly First Friday Art March a few years ago, I was skeptical that the event would take hold. By that point, it was clear the gallery scene in the downtown area was struggling to regain ground lost in the deep 2007-09 recession.

Art Rise Savannah's Art March is an amped-up gallery hop that includes local artists, live music, handmade goods, vendors and children's activities every first Friday.

CITY TALK: Finally checking out the Wyld Dock Bar

The Wyld Dock Bar opened in April, but I just made my first visit there recently. Between trips out of town and the disruptions of stormy evenings, I somehow let more than three months slip by.

CITY TALK: Finally checking out the Wyld Dock Bar

CITY TALK: Deep Center awarded community development grant

Deep “was founded in 2008 to address the detrimental effects of poverty on literacy in Savannah.” In the years since, almost 2,500 kids have participated in three-month writing programs, and Deep has published more than 60 anthologies of work by the young writers.

If you care about literacy in the Savannah community and haven’t checked out one of Deep’s public events, you should attend the next Deep Speaks! anthology launch.

Savannah Morning News file photo - A Deep Center member helps a student with a writing project.

CITY TALK: Cotton & Rye opens at Habersham and 34th

Cotton & Rye opened on July 21, and I’ve already had dinner there twice.

And I’m not the only one who has made quick repeat visits to sample the new restaurant’s outstanding menu.

CITY TALK: Cotton & Rye opens at Habersham and 34th

CITY TALK: Can Savannah learn something from Macon?

There are beautiful buildings and interesting sites throughout Macon’s historic neighborhoods and the city sits along two interstate highways, but Macon still seems a long way from being the type of destination that Savannah has become.

In a sense, the perceived lack of tourism potential might pay off for Macon in the long run.

CITY TALK: A summer of construction on Broughton Street and beyond

Every six months or so, I try to look at Broughton Street with fresh eyes. I’ve been writing about changes on Broughton for 15 years, so it’s sometimes hard to see the street as a first-time visitor or new resident would.

CITY TALK: A summer of construction on Broughton Street and beyond

CITY TALK: Job growth continues, but we're still making up lost ground

We’ve been seeing strong job growth for many months now, but we are still feeling the effects of the so-called Great Recession and the sluggish recovery.

CITY TALK: SCAD's new purchase is a game changer

The Savannah College of Art and Design’s recent purchase of the former St. Paul’s Academy is a game-changer for the Metropolitan neighborhood.

CITY TALK: SCAD's new purchase is a game changer

CITY TALK: Does Savannah need a vision for a revised alcohol ordinance?

At the Savannah City Council workshop session on July 9, Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Herman gave a presentation about the latest revisions to the proposed new alcohol ordinance.

The first questions from council members suggested that there is broad agreement on the key changes in the ordinance.

CITY TALK: Would Savannah ever replace the Johnny Mercer Theatre?

In recent City Talk columns, I’ve discussed potential uses for the site of the Martin Luther King Jr. Arena on the north side of Liberty Street between Barnard and Montgomery streets.

When the city of Savannah builds a new arena just west of downtown, we’ll have an unprecedented opportunity to re-imagine a big piece of property in the heart of the Landmark Historic District.

CITY TALK: Timeshare complex could spur Hutchinson development

On Thursday, July 9, Savannah City Council will likely approve the rezoning that will enable the development of a significant timeshare resort on Hutchinson Island.

It’s a big step for Hutchinson Island, where major construction plans have stalled or collapsed in recent years.

Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News This photo of a rendering shows the proposed design for a 316-unit timeshare resort for a site east of the Talmadge Bridge on Hutchinson Island where 16 former cement storage silos are located.

CITY TALK: Study details economic benefits of preservation

The Historic Savannah Foundation recently released “Beyond Tourism,” a 60-page study about the impact of historic preservation on our economy and quality of life. “Beyond Tourism” is a good read, especially for those who like hard numbers and bar graphs along the way.

You can buy your copy of “Beyond Tourism” through HSF at

CITY TALK: New uses could replace arena, improve downtown

In a recent column, I noted that the construction of a new arena gives Savannah an unprecedented opportunity to recreate lost portions of the Oglethorpe Plan on the west side of the Historic District. I am in favor of the total demolition of the existing arena and for the re-establishment of as many blocks as possible, including Perry and McDonough streets from Barnard Street all the way to Montgomery Street. But there are a number of sensible plans that would stop short of maximum re-establishment of Gen. Oglethorpe’s famed grid.

CITY TALK: New 'general store' offers local, regional products

PW SHORT General Store opened a couple of months ago at 414 Whitaker St. That’s at the corner of Taylor Street in the heart of the Downtown Design District.

As we wandered through the shop recently, proprietor Scot Hinson described it as “a regional, food-forward general store.”