SUWANEE - Revitalizations in the Old Town area and along Ga. Highway 317 are high on Suwanee's list of goals for the next 12 months, said Mayor Nick Masino in the annual State of the City address Wednesday.
Suwanee officials have designated the I-85 region of Ga. 317 as the Gateway to the City. It's a typical walker-unfriendly, interstate exit area with plenty of restaurants, hotels, gas stations, traffic and concrete. Thick traffic clogs up as it funnels across the Chattahoochee River and I-85. Suwanee and Gwinnett DOT are working to create a transportation grid offering more than one way to get somewhere, starting with a McGinnis Ferry/Burnett Road extension.
Several empty businesses on Ga. 317 have been cleaned up and the whole area is spotlighted for branding and beautification that will promote economic development.
"You can only do so much at a time, and it is time that we give attention to this area," Masino said.
Suwanee intends to preserve its Old Town area next to the railroad. The city recently purchased the Pierce Corners building, the Jackson Street Cemetery is being preserved and some residential projects are planned.
Red-light cameras were installed at the intersection of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and McGinnis Ferry Road last winter. Anyone running a red light there will have their license plate photographed and will receive a ticket in the mail.
Of Suwanee's 23 neighborhoods, 22 are members of the PACT program, which gives each neighborhood their own personal police officer.
In 2005, Suwanee won the Create a Community award, given by the Atlanta Regional Commission, for the second straight year; the Georgia Downtown award for PlayTown Suwanee; and a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting for the third consecutive year.
Suwanee earned the Trendsetter award in 2006 from the Georgia Municipal Association.
Town Center Park
The park's first businesses opened in April, and the interactive fountain, the largest in Gwinnett County, opened soon after. A pedestrian tunnel going under the railroad is planned to connect the Old Town area with Town Center Park. A pedestrian overpass from Shadowbrook subdivision to the Suwanee Creek Greenway is another of the walker/biker-friendly goals outlined.
Several projects are in various stages of completion. The railroad crossing on Ga. 317 is scheduled for upgrades the end of August.
Suwanee recently purchased new software that allows citizens to make complaints online. The service will go live mid-September.
A master plan is in place for the Sims Lake Park, a beautiful piece of lakeside property that will remain in its natural state.
BRPH was selected to design Suwanee's new City Hall building that will stand in Town Center Park. City council and planning and zoning meetings will soon move into the Crossroads Center, and the police department will expand into the current City Hall building.