The City of Savannah leaders took the first swipe on Wednesday at cleaning up residential neighborhoods.
This is part of the “Savannah Shine” initiative, to crackdown on crime in the city and cut out any blight in the area. Eddie Deloach, the Mayor of Savannah, told News 3 that they plan to brighten the city, one neighborhood at a time.
He said, “there’s nothing any worse than living by a slum than being in one. We don’t take care of picking up the trash. We need to think consciously all the time about ‘how can I improve my neighborhood? How can I improve Savannah?’ “
City leaders said they are working to improve the quality of life for residents, whether by targeting property owners who violate codes or working with neighbors to help them find affordable housing assistance.
Although the project could take decades to complete city-wide, communities recruited young workers to finish the job. Akeem Smith, for example, is a 24-year-old involved in the Youth Build Savannah program. Smith and his teammates, other student volunteers, will help rebuild the house the city demolished, as well as the other blighted homes around Savannah.
“It betters the neighborhood, so the neighborhood can look presentable, and you get a chance to build your skills in construction and learn new stuff. Learn what you want to do as far as a career,” said Akeem Smith.
City leaders hope that by breaking down barriers they will build pride in their communities.
“We’ll always be improving the neighborhoods if we continue to do this and go around on a regular basis. The City of Savannah is moving forward, that’s all I can say about it. It’s a great day to be in Savannah,” said Mayor Deloach.
The first part of the program is expected to last between 18 and 24 months. The city hopes to tackle more than a hundred properties a year.