SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A local church is responding to the Housing Authority of Savannah as they make plans to submit an application to demolish Yamacraw Village. The Historic First Bryan Baptist Church is worried about the impact the plan could have on them.
“That’s just not fair for Historic First Bryan Baptist Church who’s been here for 233 going on 234 years,” Chairman of Trustee Board Emily Nzeribe said.
She says the construction will be an issue in the area.
“If it’s to be demolished and there are cranes, there are barriers, how would one get here? How would we worship?” Nzeribe said.
Nzeribe and Pastor Christopher Pittman have been looking into the plans since last fall. They’d like to provide input as their historic property sits next to the neighborhood.
“We don’t want to be landlocked. We only own so much property right now here. So if you start building around us we could end up with no parking, and you know, basically shut us down,” Pittman said.
Pastor Pittman said he reached out to the Housing Authority for answers. News 3 reported Thursday that he was waiting to hear back. We have since learned on Friday from Housing Authority Executive Director Earline Davis that a call was returned Thursday evening.
Davis tells News 3 that properties near other public housing that was demolished had similar concerns regarding how construction would work. She says the Housing Authority worked with other churches and businesses in the area to make sure everything was fine.
Pittman said he wants to make sure the footprint of the neighborhood remains in place.
“I don’t want to just become a part of Broughton Street because churches are designed to minister to communities and neighborhoods. If you take away the whole neighborhood and I’m amidst stores and hotels, that won’t be functional,” Pittman said.
Until federal officials approve the demolition, Pittman says the church will work to help those impacted.
The application for demolition will be submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development by late summer or early fall.