SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Since the start of the construction of a mega warehouse in their backyard, Robert and Renee Stalnakers say their rural home of 8 years, which they call “The Boonies,” has become a living nightmare.
“It’s not comfortable anymore, so we really have no choice but to sell so I don’t have my children and animals around this, and we’re trying to come up with a plan, but you know it’s a lot with the economy the way it is right now,” said Mrs. Stalnaker.
The Central Port Logistics Center Warehouse Project has been in the works for two years to build a multi-use warehouse by 2024. It’s projected to create 2,500 new jobs, and support the Hyundai plant which is scheduled to finish in early 2025.
With 24-hour construction, the Stalnakers wake up to loud bangs at 5 a.m. and beaming lights through their windows.
“All the constant beeping with the lights and you can hear the banging sometimes,” said Mrs. Stalnaker. “We think it might be a gun going off sometimes because it’s so loud, but it’s actually a truck dumping something.”
The Stalnaker’s backyard touches the border of the site and has a road that leads from Buckhalter Road to the construction.
“There are trucks that go up and down the road,” said Mrs. Stalnaker. “It’s awful, it’s already bad enough you know because it’s a dirt road, and big trucks coming up and down just demolishes it.”
Mrs. Stalnaker notes that big gusts of dust and debris often shroud their house. The constant dust keeps their pool green due to sediment.
“Sometimes you can’t even breathe walking outside, you think there’s a fire and it’s just dust,” said Mrs. Stalnaker.
Construction retention pods have become a breeding ground for mosquitos in the area.
“When they put in the retention ponds the mosquitoes have gotten so much worse there’s standing water everywhere,” said Robert Stalnaker. “They haven’t treated the property and the mosquitoes have gotten five times worse than what they were before.”
Despite the turmoil, the Stalnakers want to stay on their land because they both work in Downtown Savannah, 15 minutes from their house which they want to pass down to their children.
Also uncertain about the future as construction ramps up to meet deadlines, are some of their neighbors on Buckhalter who have already cut deals with developers to sell.
“They are giving up hope because they’re thinking like I was too for a while, that everybody’s selling, so why not, and I found out that’s not the case,” said Mr. Stalnaker. “Not everybody on that side has sold or selling.”
‘Don’t Box Buckhalter In’ is a group of community members in the area who have taken it upon themselves to block the project from moving forward. They say they’ve faced unconstitutional building tactics, illegal dealings and bullying from the city and developers.
“We’re trying to fight all the wrongs that happen here because if it comes to you, it’s gonna happen to all of us here,” said Laura Mackey to the Stalnakers, the leader of the ‘Don’t Box Buckhalter In’ and a third owner of Red Gate Farms.
The Stalnakers are looking to test their homes’ water for concerns of possible contaminants from the construction.
News 3 is in contact with the company in question Capital Development Partners, stay tuned for their comments.