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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: 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.”

CITY TALK: Latest employment data mostly solid

The payroll job estimates released last week by the Georgia Department of Labor showed a predictable seasonal decline in Savannah area employment in May, but the data are still generally strong. Between May 2014 and May 2015, private employment in the Savannah area grew by a vigorous 3.8 percent. We would need to see key numbers decline beyond midsummer before we’d have real cause for worry about a local slowdown.


CITY TALK: Dancing Dogs Yoga opens on Savannah's Broughton Street

On a recent Friday evening, Dancing Dogs Yoga Savannah hosted a grand opening party in the new studio on the second floor of 18 East Broughton St.

Dancing Dogs Yoga Savannah

CITY TALK: A few thoughts on Savannah's evolving restaurant scene

Savannah is keeping company with four of the largest metro areas in the country on Food & Wine’s list. This is yet another step in the Savannah restaurant scene’s quiet revolution, which, in my estimation, has been going on throughout this century.

Savannah's The Grey named one of the Top 5 restaurants in America

CITY TALK: New hotel near Drayton Tower deserves bolder design

When I moved to Savannah in 1995, I did not appreciate Drayton Tower’s presence in the downtown architectural landscape. I was very much in the “that doesn’t fit in” camp. But the old building grew on me, especially after I started visiting friends in the small apartments, some of which had grand views of the city.

Courtesy Hansen Archtiects, P.C.- An artist’s rendering of the proposed hotel on Perry Street.

CITY TALK: Employment numbers show strong local growth

Several months ago, we had speculated that construction employment had bottomed and might be rebounding. According to these latest estimates, the construction sector added about 400 jobs over the last year — a solid 7 percent increase.