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Recycling, revitalization on leaders' minds

YOUNG HARRIS - Quality of life will be focus for 2008, as commissioners outlined agendas that included a recycling program at parks, noise, signs and litter crack-downs, a county gang ordinance and incentives for revitalization.

Commissioners also expressed interest Tuesday in creating a large-scale museum during a goal-setting session at the government's annual planning retreat in Young Harris.

Commissioner Bert Nasuti said he wants to see a minimum $500 fine for littering and other quality of life initiatives to make county parks and communities more attractive.

"It's a small step in the right direction and at the end of the day, it's the right thing to do," he said of the park recycling program, which he said he was questioned about by an 11-year-old Boy Scout.

Nasuti also wants to continue the county's push for state law changes to crack down on overcrowding in homes as well as a local one-stop information source for senior citizens seeking services.

While many of the commissioners focused their goals on the county's older declining neighborhoods, Kevin Kenerly wants to increase the quality of life in one of Gwinnett's most elite sectors: the Mall of Georgia and Hamilton Mill community.

He said he sees improvements at the interchanges in the southern end of the county leading to the Gwinnett Village and Gwinnett Place Mall, but he thinks the Ga. Highway 20 interchange leading to the Mall of Georgia needs its own sprucing up.

He wants to look into establishing a Community Improvement District for the area.

With the drought draining Lake Lanier, officials said they were interested in a water task force and looking into building new reservoirs or cisterns.

Chairman Charles Bannister and Commissioner Lorraine Green, who are expected to face off in next year's chairman's race, shared two ideas: creating an ethics committee and building a museum in the county. Green talked about creating an interactive science center as an expansion to the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, while Bannister mentioned a history museum.