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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: Bull Street corridor south of Forsyth Park continues to boom

There are multiple new businesses about which I haven’t written along that stretch of Bull between 37th Street and Victory Drive. And there is ongoing renovation in multiple commercial spaces stretching north to Forsyth Park.

Back in the Day Bakery

CITY TALK: Savannah location of CO now open on Whitaker Street

On a quiet evening last week, a friend and I checked out CO, the new Asian fusion restaurant at 10 Whitaker St., between Bay and Bryan streets.

And I’m sure we’ll be going back.

CITY TALK: Savannah location of CO now open on Whitaker Street

CITY TALK: Declining wristband sales point to flawed policies

Wristband requirements and other restrictions are barriers to festival attendance, especially for folks who are only marginally attached to the idea of becoming part of the drunken throng.

Who will pay the $5, and maybe even a whole lot more, not just on one day, but on each of the four festival days? The folks who really want to be part of that drunken throng.

 
CITY TALK: Declining wristband sales point to flawed policies

CITY TALK: Plenty of downtown parking in Savannah, just not where you want it

If you are among those who routinely argue there’s no parking downtown, you’re wrong.

On the final Friday night of the Savannah Music Festival, there were hundreds of folks at the Lucas Theatre for “Stringband Spectacular” and more than a thousand a couple of hours later for Dianne Reeves at Trustees Theater.

In addition to the SMF attendees, downtown was crawling with shoppers, tourists and diners.

CITY TALK: Plenty of downtown parking in Savannah, just not where you want it

CITY TALK: More venues would benefit music festival, other events

The SMF took full advantage of the Ships of the Sea and the Morris Center this year. The festival also used a variety of other historic spaces, especially the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, Trustees Theater and Trinity United Methodist Church.

Really, it’s hard to imagine a better group of venues — or is it?

DakhaBrakha

CITY TALK: New hotel tax: How bad will it be for Savannah?

While no one knows the full ramifications of the additional $5 per night, it seems clear that there will be negative impacts.

CITY TALK: Courthouse complex presents long-range issue

Over the years, I’ve written many columns about the role of public policy in good urban planning and design.

But it’s been awhile since I’ve written about the problems created by the Chatham County courthouse parking garage on Broughton Street between Montgomery Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

CITY TALK: With the demolition of Savannah's Meldrim Row, other problems will become evident

I’ve seen numerous comments in recent months about the deplorable condition of the cottages that are being demolished, but such comments have generally come from those who arrived late to the debate.

CITY TALK: Bull Street intersections hazardous

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the importance of public safety to tourism and about enhancing the experiences of tourists. Maybe we need to go after the low-hanging fruit first and make these intersections safer.

CITY TALK: Construction, manufacturing jobs on rebound

In a recent column, I took a close look at January’s payroll employment estimates for the Savannah metro area, which includes Chatham, Effingham and Bryan counties.
Those estimates showed robust growth over the past year, and the newly released data for February show strong growth is continuing into 2015.

CITY TALK: Local, regional visitors dominate St. Patrick's crowds

This column is not a knock on the local hotels, by the way. I’m simply suggesting that a lot of prevailing assumptions about St. Patrick’s Day just aren’t so. The hotels aren’t “packed,” and you’ll never see River Street looking as crowded as it was during St. Patrick’s Day festivities in the 1990s.

CITY TALK: Ancient Order of Hibernians raises profile of Irish road bowling tournament

If you’ve ever participated in Irish road bowling, you know the peculiar delight of seeing that 28-ounce sphere roll along a straightaway and then catch a sweeping curve at just the right speed and angle so that it keeps rolling, and rolling and rolling some more.

CITY TALK: Latest estimates show strong job growth in key sectors

Data released last week by the Georgia Department of Labor show a decline in payroll jobs in the Savannah metro area (Chatham, Effingham and Bryan counties) from December to January, but don’t worry about that.

January is always a lousy month for employment, and the metro area estimates released by the state are not adjusted for seasonality.

CITY TALK: Design plays critical role in public spaces

Savannah city officials announced last week that they’re moving ahead with reconstruction of the fountain area in front of the outdoor stage in Forsyth Park.

That announcement provoked a predictable round of online comments from folks who are upset — even disgusted! — that the city has been forced to remove the decorative fountain because so many parents allowed their children to play in it.

CITY TALK: New/old 18+ policy will help city's music scene

Over the years, I’ve written regularly about the issue of allowing 18- to 20-year-olds into live music establishments that derive most of their income from alcohol.

I.e., should legal adults over the age of 18 be allowed into bars that have live entertainment?

CITY TALK: Savannah's new cultural center: We need to get it right

I agree with the thrust of the recent criticisms about the city’s handling of the planned new Cultural Arts Center.

The project has taken too long, has been plagued by bureaucratic chaos and is possibly poised for considerable cost overruns.

And those aren’t the only reasons to be displeased.

CITY TALK: James Beard awards spotlight 2 locally

If you’re following the Savannah restaurant scene, you probably already know that two local establishments have been named semifinalists for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards. Cheryl and Griffith Day from Back in the Day Bakery are semifinalists in the Outstanding Baker category. The Grey is in the running for Best New Restaurant.

CITY TALK: Sandfly BBQ on Henry Street looks like a winner

The second location of Sandfly BBQ is now open at 120 W. Henry St. in SCAD’s old Streamliner Diner. The vintage diner car proves an excellent space for an established brand like Sandfly BBQ.

CITY TALK: Mayor's speech: What it said, what it didn't

Mayor Edna Jackson’s state of the city speech last week focused heavily on Savannah’s persistent violent crime.

Jackson cited a variety of reasons for the city’s violence, including Savannah’s gun culture and “generational crime occurring in the same neighborhoods — and same families — year after year.”

CITY TALK: A Savannah St. Patrick's Day tradition: Last-minute decisions

In 2014, Georgia lawmakers passed a bill allowing bars in Savannah to be open on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day. The law won’t apply this year, however, because of the narrow way it was written. Savannah bars can open if a Sunday falls on March 16, 17 or 18, but this year the pre-holiday Sunday is March 15.