A city delegation will spend Friday in Savannah, Ga., with two main things in mind: parking and beer.
The delegation – which includes Augusta Super District Commission member Marion Williams, Downtown Development Authority Director Margaret Woodard, Convention and Visitors Bureau President Barry White, Deputy Administrator Ted Rhinehart, Planning and Development Director Melanie Wilson and two guests of Williams – will take a hard look at how Savannah manages downtown parking and mobility, Woodard said.
“Savannah has done a great job in looking overall not just at parking, but mobility, how to get people from decks to where they need to go,” she said.
The coastal city uses meters, enforcement, parking garages, shuttles, buses and other systems to manage the millions of residents and tourists passing through Savannah each year.
The Augusta Commission has resisted the DDA’s efforts to reinstall parking meters downtown, city parking limits are not enforced and large parking garages see little use.
The city hopes Cooper Carry, architects designing a multimillion-dollar Broad Street streetscape project, will incorporate better parking management into the Transportation Investment Act-funded project, Woodard said.
But “we’re not going down there just for that, now,” Williams said.
In the spirit of a May delegation to Albany, Ga., to examine the southwest Georgia city’s riverfront development, the group will look at a few of Savannah’s tourism products, primarily breweries.
Savannah “has been very successful in recruiting breweries to the downtown core,” Woodard said.
Augusta, which once had a couple of restaurant breweries, now has no locally brewed beer, although Riverwatch Brewery has a commercial facility soon to open at the state farmer’s market.
With some city officials under fire for frequent traveling on the taxpayer’s dime, the group will ride together in a city van, as they did to Albany.
The delegation will meet with the directors of Savannah’s parking and mobility and planning departments, but a tight schedule won’t allow the group to spend much time at other Savannah attractions, Woodard said.