September 16, 2008
By David Hall
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – For the last few years, residents in west Savannah got used to looking at old vacant houses, but today was the official ground breaking of the environmentally friendly Sustainable Fellwood.
The Sustainable Fellwood is a far cry from what it used to look like. The Savannah Housing Authority cleared the vacant houses to build a new future.
“This will be one of the first, if not the first affordable housing, mixed housing, mixed income used project in the United States,” said Melaver Inc. CFO Denis Blackburne.
Today, elected officials and residents alike came together for the official ground breaking.
Blackburne, the lead developer in this project, says this will be completely environmentally friendly.
“It combines energy efficiency, which is on everyone’s mind. Putting energy efficient HVAC systems into this product and properties, water conservation is important as well. We will have low flow fixtures throughout the community,” said Blackburne.
This neighborhood has always been special to Housing Authority of Savannah executive director Earline Davis. She grew up in west Savannah and took part in today’s ground breaking.
“This is a historic moment, I’ve tried not to become emotional. But to see what was here,” said Davis.
“It was a place for young families to start and move on and so to be a part of revitalizing a part of what was wonderful to me when I was growing up is more than I can put into words,” said Davis.
She’s not the only west Savannahnian with big hopes for this new development.
“It will help keep the kids off of the street and by being a new community it will give them hope in life and it will enhance them,” said resident Andre West.
This development is one of four such communities in Georgia making it part of a new pilot program that recognizes environmentally responsible development projects which revitalize urban areas.
Sustainable Fellwood will also be one of the first Earth Craft Coastal Communities in the area.