CID directors address chamber

DULUTH - Directors of Gwinnett's three community improvement districts spoke at a forum Thursday about revitalization, their efforts to improve property values and the projects they are working on.

From an update on work to change a reversible lane on U.S. Highway 78 into a median to efforts to fill empty storefronts, the directors answered questions from members of the county's Chamber of Commerce about their purpose and the work they were doing in their communities.

"We're going to change the face of that area for 50 years to come," Evermore Director Brett Harrell said of the 78 median. "In the next 50 years, Evermore is going to be vibrant, vital, safe and attractive."

Safety was a factor from Evermore to Gwinnett Village and Gwinnett Place, where graffiti removal and increased police presence have been prevalent efforts.

Local leaders have also studied solutions to traffic woes, including potential projects to replace two bridges over Interstate 85.

Gwinnett Place Director Joe Allen said his CID is creating an overlay district that will help push efforts to change the area.

"In 20 years, we've gone from a rural country lane to what it is today. We want to guide the next 20 years," he said. "Hopefully, that will give us some of the teeth we need to guide that redevelopment."

Chuck Warbington, the Gwinnett Village director, described a redevelopment plan his CID is creating as an overlay district on steroids. He emphasized the importance of taking notice of the long-ignored area.

"It takes a while for these things to catch on, but they pay off down the road," he said.