SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTGS) — Savannah city leaders announced plans Monday to increase the local workforce at the new Savannah Arena project as construction there continues.
“We are nine months away from where we’re trying to turn this over, and I’m happy to report to the mayor that we are on time and on budget in order to meet those dates,” said Patrick Wipperman, the Savannah Arena's project executive.
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The city is looking for around 200 more workers to help build the arena, and Mayor Van Johnson said it’s his priority to see people who live in Savannah fill those jobs.
"If you’re looking for a job, if you’re looking for an opportunity, if you’ve been criminally justice-involved and you need that next chance, if you need skills, this is an opportunity,” said Johnson.
The mayor has also hired two project managers who will hold the city accountable for its promise to hire local workers.
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“We have a dedicated office on-site for individuals designated by the city to keep an active, vigilant and watchful eye on the progress of this project and local worker participation,” he said.
City manager Michael Brown said the new hires will focus on giving small businesses and minority workers a chance.
"The team that (the mayor) introduced is devoted to getting more local neighborhood minority African-American employees and contractors and to help them grow,” said Brown.
Mayor Johnson said these plans will help the completed arena become a legacy for the city and its future generations.
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“We want this to be a legacy project, so when people leave here, that fathers and mothers can bring their sons here and say, ‘Mommy and daddy help build this,' and that’s what makes a project a change agent for a community,” said Johnson.
The city is also working with Work Source Georgia to engage with minority potential workers and get them involved in the project.
The city is hosting another job fair for the project on March 13 at the Civic Center downtown.