The Savannah City Council has approved funds for the development of an interpretive nature trail just west of downtown. GPB's Benjamin Payne reports.

Conceptual map of Wetlands Preserve Park in Savannah's Canal District

Conceptual map of Wetlands Preserve Park in Savannah's Canal District

Credit: City of Savannah

The Savannah City Council on Thursday approved nearly $170,000 to build an interpretive nature trail as part of a planned wetland preservation park near the new Enmarket Arena in the city's Canal District, just west of downtown.

According to city documents, Wetlands Preserve Park is intended to provide “enhanced green space, increased connectivity, walkability, and low-impact access to the preserved wetlands and ponds north of the railroad tracks in the Canal District through an interpretive trail system with coastal, environmental and historical information to residents and visitors in the area.”

Additionally, the park is meant to hold stormwater and mitigate flooding, as the Canal District sits on a low-lying floodplain along the Savannah River. According to a master plan from the city, the area is served by “the most underinvested stormwater system in Savannah.”

The $167,994 contract with CHA Consulting includes community engagement and engineering services for the trail.

“A Wetlands Preserve Park — to take what could be considered a hindrance and turn it into a community asset, and a benefit for all, for people to enjoy, to explore, to work out, enjoy in the beautiful place that we call home — this is an incredible opportunity,” Alderman Nick Palumbo said.

Neither the purchasing notes for the contract nor the master plan indicates a projected timeline for Wetlands Preserve Park.

It is part of a larger revitalization effort by the city that also calls for the development of Canal Park — described in the master plan as "the proposed civic core" of the district — and a scattering of smaller-scale “pocket” parks.