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Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 11:49am

Savannah Revives Development Agency

Savannah officials have revived a downtown development agency credited with turning around a pair of historic business corridors.

The Development and Renewal Authority could create a vision for downtown Savannah.

State lawmakers created the SDRA in 1992 to revitalize downtown Savannah.

Officials credit the agency with spurring new business in now-vibrant areas of Broughton Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

But city officials all but dismantled the agency two years ago in a spat over funding and political turf.

Now they've given it a new board and direction.

SDRA board member Jerry Lominack says he hopes the agency can help diversify the downtown economy.

"What the city really needs to develop is a long-range vision for what it wants to be ten years from now, 20 years from now," Lominack says. "I personally hope it won't be a downtown full of buses and tourists and nothing else, hotels. It's been moving a lot in that direction."

The agency is funded entirely by the city.

"I think there's been way too much concentration on the tourist industry and the resulting minimum wage jobs," Lominack says. "So, I think we need to raise our sights and I hope SDRA can help participate and help that happen."

Its new board now has a matter of weeks to be included in the city's budget process.

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