Gwinnett Place master plan unveiled

DULUTH - Under a master plan for Gwinnett Place, Pleasant Hill could become more than just a heavily trafficked road - it could become a signature street like Chicago's Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile.

"Pleasant Hill could be turned into the grand boulevard of Gwinnett Place," Street Smarts' Jay Scott said. "It really is in an ideal position to become the urban center for Gwinnett County. This is what we really need to be reaching for."

Scott and Street Smarts President Marsha Anderson Bomar presented the potential master plan for the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District to the group's board Wednesday. The plan calls for streets to be rearranged into a grid system to promote increased walkability, the consolidation of parking decks and the creation of community open space and an overlay district that would set the tone for new construction in the area.

Bomar said she envisioned a series of districts for restaurants, entertainment and other uses, but that the different uses would be well mixed.

"We're very excited," she said. "We see the opportunity for a very, very different Gwinnett Place in as little as five years. The initial changes make a statement."

Members of the CID board will review the inch-thick proposal this month and ask any questions to tweak the plan before next month's board meeting.

Joe Allen, the CID's executive director, said the plan will help form what the area could be over the coming decades. Mark Williams, the CID's chairman, said its creation will spur redevelopment in the area.

While there may be some initial resistance to such an overarching plan, Allen said, the board's goal is to create something that can be accomplished incrementally and that the majority of people in the CID can buy in to.

"It sets a vision for the area," he said.