With the blare of Interstate traffic rushing behind them, City and neighborhood leaders on Tuesday kicked off a project to construct a quarter-mile-long masonry wall to protect Tatemville from the sounds, sights and smells of Savannah’s most congested stretch of pavement. Alderman Clifton Jones, who represents the Tatemville Neighborhood, invited residents to join him in the vacant lot abutting DeRenne Avenue and unveil a large rendering of the Tatemville Sound Wall.
“I consider what we are doing now as planting a seed,” he said. “And I expect that seed in just a short amount of time to begin producing fruit.”
The wall will be 1,400 feet long and more than 10 feet tall, constructed of handsome red masonry with a cast stone monument at the corner marking the Tatemville neighborhood. “When this Interstate extension was built 50 years ago, the sound wall should have been part of its design,” Mayor Otis Johnson said. “We are righting a wrong, an injustice to this community that was perpetrated a long time ago. The people of Tatemville will get the wall that they deserve.”
Some of the homes here are just a few feet from this stretch of DeRenne, just before it turns into I-516. More than 52,000 cars a day pass by. The wall’s need was identified as part of the citizen-driven Project DeRenne. Through that process, citizens worked with staff and elected leaders to create a plan to ease congestion, improve aesthetics and economic development, and protect neighborhoods along DeRenne.
City Council decided that the Tatemville Sound Wall would be the first construction project emerging from this plan.
“This shows that when our City government and residents work together, great things can happen,” said Tatemville Community Improvement Association President Janette Scott.