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Friday, March 1, 2013 - 11:30am

Iconic Bridge Not Getting New Name

Chatham County lawmakers are calling off a proposal to rename the iconic bridge towering above Savannah.

The moniker of the Eugene Talmadge Bridge has been a point of contention in the coastal city for decades.

Governor Talmadge was one of the state's most prominent figures in the 1930's and 1940's.

But he also was an ardent segregationist.

When an older bridge in his name was replaced 22 years ago, the city lobbied for a new moniker.

But the state stuck with Talmadge.

"That name does not depict what we are today," says Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson. "It carries us back in history. And now this is about moving forward and into the future."

A name change movement gathered support this year in the state legislature.

"This is one of those things where we need to do the name change," says Coastal-area historian Buddy Sullivan. "I think it's in the interest of the community and actually the interest of the state of Georgia since we really are a portal of entry for Georgia, from overseas and for tourism."

But lawmakers now say a General Assembly resolution prevents a change and they missed a deadline for submitting a renaming bill.

Savannah State Representative Ron Stephens says he'll try again next year.

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