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Savannah City Council approves final Arena design; offers large settlement in tree case

Savannah City Council today approved the final exterior/facade design of the new Savannah Arena — even though groundbreaking for the facility happened a week ago.

Some members of council expressed objections to the original design by Perkins & Will architects (Alderman Tony Thomas joked that the original design was "disgustingly horrific").

The new design, the architects say, incorporates lit towers to "act as a beacon" to show the rejuvenation of the new Canal District, surrounding the Arena.

At a previous Council meeting, members complained that they were about to attend a groundbreaking but still hadn't seen the final design.

In other Council business:

A $10 million liability settlement was approved in the case of Lisa Muse, a Memorial nurse severely injured and still incapacitated from a 2010 collision involving a Counter Narcotics Team officer.

At issue is an oak tree on White Bluff Road, which Muse's attorneys say was to blame for the crash because it blocked visibility, and which the City of Savannah had been warned about previously.

The Georgia Supreme Court had already ruled that the City of Savannah couldn't enjoy sovereign immunity from prosecution for negligence in this case.

Council also approved the formation of a new Historic Preservation Commission, as per state law. This new review body is intended to have review power over all historic and conservation districts in Savannah other than the Savannah Downtown Historic Overlay District, which already has its own review board.