Savannah is taking a $1.7 million step toward building a new arena west of the city’s downtown area.

That amount is the proposed design cost of a new public works complex the city intends to build in order to relocate multiple departments from the planned arena site, The Savannah Morning News reported (

The city is proposing to build the public works complex on about 13 acres of city-owned property about a mile west of the arena site and relocate hundreds of employees and vehicles to the new location.

Barrett Sports Group has estimated that the arena would cost at least $140 million. During a workshop last month, the consulting firm’s owner indicated that the price may have gone up since then, the newspaper reported.

City Manager Rob Hernandez has told the city council that tax revenue has been coming in above projections, but the city will still have to come up with other sources of funding, including bonds.

“This council has made it abundantly clear to me that we are committed to moving forward with the arena, one way or the other,” Hernandez said.

The city is also planning on developing the Canal District — the area around the arena — with a 55-acre park, walking and biking paths. Improvements being eyed for the neighborhood also include athletic fields, road improvements and a widened Springfield Canal which could accommodate recreational boating.

The Canal District development project is estimated to cost about $41.5 million, according to a consultant’s report last month.

The contract approved this week for the public works complex includes the design of new administrative and operations buildings, renovated warehouses and an outdoor pavilion.

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