Savannah's prized landmark district threatened by growth

A federal agency says decades of growth and modernization are threatening the historic character of one of the United States' largest national landmarks.

The downtown area of Savannah was named a National Historic Landmark in 1966. The city takes great pride in the designation, which has helped Savannah build a nearly $3 billion tourism economy.

The National Park Service last week announced it is downgrading the status of Savannah's landmark district from "satisfactory" to "threatened." The agency says new developments — from government buildings to large hotels — have encroached on the city's unique town plan devised by British Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, Georgia's colonial founder in 1733.