Evermore CID holds workshop to determine design rules

SNELLVILLE - Tony Angerami didn't feel like he had much to contribute to a design workshop that pictured the future for the Park Place area.

He has owned a shopping strip in the area for more than 40 years, and keeps it in good repair, he said.

But while Angerami maintains his property, he said everyone else does not. And he wants to encourage others to keep their property in good shape, too.

So he came to a design workshop for the Park Place Activity Center to support the Evermore Community Improvement District on U.S. Highway 78.

"Only good can come out of this," he said.

Brett Harrell, the CID's executive director, said he was happy with the turnout - about 40 people had filtered in by mid-afternoon, and the session was scheduled to go into the evening - and with the responses he had heard about what needed to be done in the area.

Those requests include sidewalks, landscaping, streetlights and parallel roads, he said, items the CID is already working on.

Other requests for the area on the DeKalb County line include more restaurants, pedestrian safety features and a change in perception for the area.

James Thornton, who is looking to purchase some Burger Kings in the Park Place area, said if the perception of crime is high in the district, people will not come to it. While he would like more businesses to fill the empty storefronts, he said the type of business that comes is also important.

"We need nice restaurants, a place where a family can shop, where everyone can shop in one place," he said. "We need a park where a family can go on a picnic where they don't have to spend an arm and a leg to do it."

Walter Bussell, who lives near Park Place, said he usually turns away from the area when pulling out of his subdivision. The traffic keeps him away, he said, but back roads to the businesses might make them easier to navigate.

Cathy Roth, who also lives in the area, said she thinks community involvement is a good thing for Park Place residents. She has lived there for 30 years, she said, and was impressed by all the positive things that could be done.

Harrell said people in the Park Place area are more involved than most, and that a unique mix of commercial and residential uses provides a wide variety of uses and opinions nearby.

"This community is very engaged, forward-thinking," Harrell said. "As long as it's in the right place, they're willing to consider it."

Akilah Townsend, a Snellville resident who owns the American Basketball Association team the Atlanta Vision with her husband, said she would love a place for the team in Gwinnett.

Townsend said she has been looking for a place to put a wellness and recreation center, and is convinced Park Place might be where she should locate.

"There are a lot of exciting opportunities happening in this area," she said. "People care about the area and what they want to see. (People in) this area has to go somewhere else for dining, recreation, entertainment. There's not a lot right here, but there is a desire to have it in the area."

The community input into the project will continue Saturday, when Thursday's findings will be presented to attendees. For more information, see www.evermorecid.org.

n What: Community Design Workshop

•When: 9 a.m. to

1 p.m. Saturday

•Where: The Embassy, 1925 Glenn Club Drive, Stone Mountain