SUWANEE - Residents will soon have a new way to escape the summer heat.
The city has installed a new interactive fountain in Suwanee Town Center Park and will hold a day of festivities Saturday to celebrate its opening. The ellipse-shaped fountain, the largest in Gwinnett County, is 150 feet by 100 feet and uses 43 jets.
"The ultimate goal is that the town center becomes an activity center," Mayor Nick Masino said. "(The fountain) is going to be a constant drawing point for families."
With the addition of the fountain, the city has taken another step in a four-year march toward making the town center a destination for residents.
Suwanee spokeswoman Lynn DeWilde said the center of Suwanee used to consist only of historic Main Street with a smattering of residential and commercial offerings.
"There was not a distinct town center area," DeWilde said.
The city created a master plan for developing Suwanee's Old Town area in 2002 in order to create a more distinct town center. The Town Center Park opened in 2003, followed by a stage and an amphitheater in 2004.
Director of Planning and Community Development Marty Allen said the fountain was originally conceived along with the creation of the master plan and has been under construction since March.
Suwanee residents donated $130,000 of the total $566,000 cost of the fountain through the Better Parks
Allen said a tentative schedule for fountain's operation is 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the warm months.
Numerous other events are planned to accompany the fountain's dedication Saturday, including fountain games and a concert.
The day will double as a fundraiser for Suwanee's adopted town, Long Beach, Miss., a coastal community that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. All of the proceeds from Saturday's activities - including the cost of food, passes for inflatable rides and auctioned items - will be donated to the redevelopment of Long Beach.