If you've ever climbed any of the
stone stairs up, or walked them down, to River Street, you know what kind of
experience it can be.
Now, one of those historic gateways is
closed off partially, and viewers are asking why.
The staircase in question is one of
the steepest along River Street. They're so steep, some people have nicknamed
the staircase the stone stairs of death. They even have a Facebook page
dedicated to them.
However, right now half of them has a
yellow bar blocking it off, and there are several signs warning private
Some think it may have to do with a
video which made the rounds a few months ago, around the same time the signs
popped up, and the stairs went off limits on one side.
"The stairwell was actually closed
before anyone in the city was aware of that incident," said City of Savannah's City
and Park Director Jerry Flemming.
Flemming said the video is actually
from St. Patrick's Day 2013 but emerged after the 2014 festival.
Flemming said the city put up the
signs and the bar to block off the stone stairs on Williamson Street before the
2014 St. Patrick's Day Festival because of a faulty wall due for repairs as
part of a $6 million Factors Walk SPOLST project.
Part of that project is figuring out
what is privately owned and what is owned by the city.
"In this particular case, we have a
stairway that is owned by multiple parties," said Flemming. "Half is owned by
one property owner, a quarter is owned by another property owner, and another half
is owned by the city, which is connected to a hand rail connected to a wall,
which is not very stable at this point."
For liability reasons, the city closed
their portion off, and the signs warn pedestrians to use the private stairs at
their own risk.
The stairs may not reopen for a few
years since they aren't a high priority in the overall Factos Walk Project.