There was applause in North Side on Thursday night as David Moffitt promised the audience, “We’ll come back any time you ask.”
About 70 people attended the meeting at the Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre, where they studied a site plan for the development, heard from Ironwood spokesperson Denise Gower and then posed questions to Ms. Gower and Mr. Moffitt.
Toward the end, Prentice Panton offered his opinion instead of a query. “As an adjacent landowner, I applaud what you’re trying to do,” he said. “I agree with you that your development is going to spur other development.”
He noted that workers at the site will have to eat somewhere and live somewhere; he expressed confidence that those needs can be met in North Side.
Residents learned that the Ironwood community will eventually have four or five subdivisions and about 2,000 people. Ms. Gower added that the development will include a supermarket, shops and a cinema, meaning residents of East End and North Side will not have to travel to Seven Mile Beach to see a movie or go to George Town or Savannah for shopping.
Mr. Moffitt thanked MLA Ezzard Miller for his invitation to speak about the proposed development and then began by explaining that Ironwood will cover 600 acres, with 330 acres of that total being a golf course. One hundred acres will be for a town center.
Water for the golf course will come from lakes to be dredged, and those will cover between 20 and 25 acres. Dredging will be to a depth of 14 feet to “keep the lakes alive” and dredged material will be used on the site, but local quarries will also be used for materials, the developer said.
All of the land is east of Frank Sound Road, some owned by the developers and some under contract.
The time line for completion is roughly 15 years, Mr. Moffitt said, but noted his intention to have the golf course open “within two years of when we start.”
Asked about the hiring of workers and heavy equipment, he explained that the developers will hire contractors. He said talks have already been held with quarry operators and several general contractors.
“What is unique about your project that requires the road?” one person asked in relation to the proposed East-West Arterial extension.
“Easiest access to the airport,” Mr. Moffitt replied. He noted that the National Roads Authority will be putting out tenders for the road construction between Hirst Road in Savannah and Frank Sound Road. “We have a contractor that will furnish the bond,” he said.
He repeated what has already been stated publicly – that Ironwood developers are not asking for duty concessions, only that government earmark revenue generated by the project for the road.
Asked where the roadwork would start, he said he thought it would probably start from both sides and meet in the middle, with construction taking about one-and-a-half years.
As to concerns about how the arterial will impact National Trust lands in the Mastic Trail area, he referred to recent discussions between parties and said, “I think we have a nice compromise with the National Trust.” He predicted an announcement shortly.
Ironwood wants to be a good neighbor with the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, he said, so there will be a nursery and walking paths in a buffer area between them.
Asked how he would use rubber from tires currently stored in the George Town landfill, Mr. Moffitt explained that they would be ground into small pieces and then used instead of gravel for drainage under the golf course greens and elevated tee boxes.
In response to a question about why artificial turf could not be used on the golf course to avoid the environmental consequences of fertilizers and insecticides, Mr. Moffitt said it is the intention to have PGA-sanctioned tournaments on the course, and artificial grass would not meet PGA criteria. He indicated that the rubber from tires would absorb chemicals and prevent leaching.
Asked about trash that would be generated by all the people living and working in the development, Mr. Moffitt said there are plans for a full recycling and recovery program.
The question-and-answer session was part of the North Side District Council’s regular meeting, held on the last Thursday of each month.