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Making it easier to be green
Chatham County, MPC conduct survey on green space preference
The survey’s part of an effort to write a long-term Green Space Plan. - photo by Erica Porter

One of my favorite summer activities is grabbing an iced coffee on a Sunday afternoon and heading to one of my favorite squares, Monterey. Whether I go to read, listen to music, or just people watch and enjoy my iced coffee, it's always beneficial and refreshing.

It’s become such a frequent activity for me that if there is a rainy Sunday, as there often is in Savannah, and I can’t enjoy being outside, my mood is greatly affected.

Granted, summers in Savannah can be brutally hot and it’s sometimes difficult to be outside for long periods of time. Yet for me, enjoying some time outside is a weekly remedy and Savannah offers several spots to soak up the medicinal sunshine.

In addition to the 22 public squares downtown (thank you James Oglethorpe for this brilliant idea developing our city), the Savannah area has numerous parks. To name a few: Forsyth, Daffin, Tom Triplett, Lake Mayer, Autumn Lake, and JF Gregory.

It’s the desire of the Chatham County Resource Protection Commission (CCRPC) and the Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) to acquire, to preserve, and to improve our county’s green spaces.

Ellen Harris, Director of Urban Planning and Historical Preservation for the MPC, explains the mission further saying, “For each property that comes under the umbrella of the CCRPC, a management plan is produced that is specific to that property. It outlines what activities might be allowed on the property and has recommendations for future improvements (such as signage or trails). We work to ensure that there is an easement placed on the property to ensure that it remains green space.”

Now, these Commissions are currently assembling the first long-term Green Space Plan. “This is the first long-term plan that will be put together to guide the Resource Protection Commission on green space for Chatham County over a three or five year period,” says Resource Protection Commission Intern Katie Reams.

As the people enjoying the amenities of Chatham green space, our help and guidance are being requested.

Until Friday, July 25, CCRPC and MPC will conduct a survey for suggestions from Chatham County residents on preferences and ideas for future and current green space.

The survey asks several questions like how often you visit Chatham green space, your method of getting there, and your opinion of how important green space preservation is to you.

The survey also asks participants about their preferences for green space by listing its uses (i.e. recreation, sports, relaxation, and exercise) and asks participants to rank them in importance.

“As this is the first long-term plan for green space in Chatham County, the RPC wanted to know the thoughts of Chatham County residents and know that they will have a voice in this long-term plan,” says Reams. “The RPC will be meeting at the end of the month, and I will give all the results that we have up to that point. The survey will be used to shape the goals of the long-term plan.”

Harris adds, “The CCRPC has established a great process for responsible land acquisition which has been functioning well. However, it functions at a more micro level- green space acquisition is on a property-by-property basis and evaluation. We’ve seen the need to have a planning document that looks at green space on a more macro level.”

With the results of this survey, the CCRPC and MPC hope to have just that, a larger view of the possibilities and long term goals formed by resident’s views for our county’s green space.

The survey will be offered in both English and Spanish until July 25 for any adult Chatham County resident over 18. If you need a little more incentive, participants of the survey also receive the chance to win several raffle prizes for their input and opinions.