Published On: Tue, Sep 8th, 2015

Savannah’s Waters Avenue revitalization plans falter

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The man in dirt-stained clothes, sitting passed out on a bench at Waters Avenue and 37th Street, didn’t budge as a driver stopped next to him honked his horn. Signs on the building behind the sleeping man advertise candidates for Savannah City Council posts.

Next door, on a hot August afternoon, Jerome Letbetter prepared lunch for a customer in his restaurant, Grandma’s Diner. Letbetter has been open for almost three years but says it hasn’t been easy.

“I’m just hanging on there by a thread,” he said. “I’m not ready to throw a towel in yet.”

Ever since Letbetter opened, city officials have been talking about “beautifying” the street outside his restaurant by adding brick sidewalks, new crosswalks, decorative lighting and landscaping improvements to try to attract more investment to the area.

During a town hall meeting for the 2nd District in August 2014, city manager Stephanie Cutter told residents the project was expected to begin early this year.

Finally, this summer, the city received two bids for the project, but both were over budget, according to a memo from Assistant City Manager Pete Shonka to the City Council on Aug. 28. Hoping to get a contractor at a lower price, the city has made a second bid request through the state, Shonka said.

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