- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Savannah residents hope a new arena planned for the city will spur development in their neighborhood.

Some of about 90 residents at a recent town hall meeting on the $100-million-plus project expressed their desire for the city to follow through with plans to build the arena in their community, The Savannah Morning News reported (bit.ly/1WOdj4r).

Savannah Alderman Van Johnson pledged his commitment to supporting plans for the arena northeast of Gwinnett Street and Stiles Avenue in Carver Heights.

The investment is needed for the community, which has been historically neglected and cut off from downtown by industrial development, Johnson said.

“As your representative, this is one of the Alamo moments for me,” he said.

The current plan for the arena has been questioned by Mayor Eddie DeLoach and other members of the new council following the defeat in last year’s election of previous members of the council, including former Mayor Edna Jackson, who supported the chosen location.

Residents said they wanted to know whether Savannah City Aldermen Bill Durrence, Julian Miller and Carol Bell supported the site.

Both Durrence and Miller said they could not determine whether they supported the plan until the results of an arena study were presented.

Bell said she is also awaiting results of the study, which is supposed to examine the site and determine what type of arena to build and what type of performances it could accommodate. But she agreed that an “economic engine” was needed for the area.

The $176,000 arena study by Barrett Sports Group is close to completion and expected to be presented to the mayor and alderman May 12, the Savannah newspaper reported.

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