SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah City Council has voted to approve an extension for an open container pilot program. This resolution will expand the boundaries to include open drinks to be carried in portions of Forsyth Park.
In a vote passed seven to one, Alderman Detric Leggett led the charge to extend an open container pilot program for the next 90 days. This program was cut short after the coronavirus hit Savannah.
“We believe that the open expanded container zone now with the southern portion of Forsyth Park included will further benefit businesses and serve neighborhood business,” Trudy Herod with the Victorian Neighborhood Association said.
The pilot program will be specific to the areas of the Victorian Neighborhood, Thomas Square Neighborhood, and Forsyth Park but there is some opposition.
“I believe that the notion of including a family-friendly place like Forsyth Park just even for a 90-day trial is going to result sooner or later in a request to have the entire park included in open carry and I think that’s a big mistake,” Savannah resident, Bob Rosenwald said.
District 1 Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier agrees this could lead to drinking in other parks. Right now that isn’t allowed.
“So if I can drink in Forsyth then maybe I can drink in Daffin Park,” Lanier said.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson raised concerns about people drinking near the Forsyth Park playground.
“Is it the park or is it really the playground. I’m outside the playground I’m not really on the playground so that’s my only concern,” Johnson said.
Post 1 Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter was the only one to vote against it. She said this program could lead to more bad than good.
“I just think we need to exercise more responsibility where crime, violence, and sexual assault is concerned,” Gibson-Carter said.
Residents were given a chance to give feedback on the program. At least 65 percent of residents said yes.
The city council will examine how well the 90-day pilot program works to see if the ordinance becomes permanent. The pilot program will expire September 25.