Passive park to preserve part of river

LAWRENCEVILLE - Over the years, Gwinnett has opened large passive parks outside Grayson, Dacula, Snellville and Duluth.

This time, northern Gwinnett will get its turn.

Officials approved a $3.62 million contract last week to begin construction on Settles Bridge Park, a 268-acre park on Johnson Road in the Sugar Hill/Suwanee area.

The park, which is beside Riverside Elementary, will feature trails, a dog park, a picnic pavilion, a playground and a teen area with basketball courts and a skate park, Community Services Director Phil Hoskins said.

In the future, officials hope to link the park, which is made of county- and state-owned land, with an adjacent property owned by the National Park Service, providing access to the Chattahoochee River.

A goal in the project was preservation of the river, Commissioner Kevin Kenerly said.

"We're using just a small portion of the land to help meet recreational needs in the Sugar Hill area while keeping most of it as greenspace," he said.

Hoskins said officials hope the park will open in spring or summer 2009.

"Again, we thank the voters of Gwinnett for supporting greenspace and recreation through the (special purpose local option sales tax) program, which is providing the funding for Settles Bridge Park," Chairman Charles Bannister said.