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Friday, November 16, 2012 - 11:59am

Savannah Getting First Public Marina

Updated: 2 years ago.
A private marina operator threatened to turn the land into homes before city officials stepped in. The project includes a new pier, floating dock, marina store and boat hoist, among other things. (photo Andrew Howard)

Savannah is getting its first public marina.

The city broke ground today on a $4 million project at one of the city's most fought over pieces of land.

Coffee Bluff is prime real estate on the city's Southside.

A private marina stood there for decades.

But when its owner tried to turn the land into homes, residents pushed back and city officials stepped in to buy and improve the marina and create a public park.

Coffee Bluff resident Collette Williamson says the marina will create a focal point.

"This is a forty year dream for me," Williamson says. "My husband and I bought property out here in 1972. It has been a more than twenty year battle to avoid this land being sold for condominiums or private development."

The project includes a new pier, floating dock, marina store and boat hoist, among other things.

Alderman Tony Thomas says the marina will be a destination.

"This is going to be a meeting place for this community and for this part of the city, for people to come out and really enjoy a day at the park," Thomas says. "We're very excited about the opportunities here for the future."

It will be the only publicly owned marina in a county surrounded on three sides by water.