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Officials cut the ribbon on financial services center

NORCROSS - On Thursday the Gwinnett Village Community Alliance officially cut the ribbon on what will be its new home once renovations are complete.

Once those doors finally open next month, it will mean the alliance, its new financial services center and the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District will be located under the same roof in the heart of the area on Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

The probable October opening of the new financial services center, meant to assist low- to moderate- income families, is what everyone is buzzing about.

In partnership with the United Way, which announced its 2009 Gwinnett campaign collection goal of $5.4 million, the financial services center will serve as a one-stop shop that offers individuals and families opportunities and solutions that can lead to a financially secure future. The center will achieve this by focusing upon financial stability, career connections and entrepreneurship by increasing employment and home ownership, and decreasing personal debt.

"In the short term this will serve the people who come and take advantage of the services," Marsha Anderson Bomar said. "In the long term, it's going to impact the entire community."

Keith Shewbert, the chairman of the GVCA, said the financial services center will aid with increasing and advancing the human capital in the area.

"It's all about family stability," Shewbert said of the services that will be offered. "Once we stabilize families and give them the financial education to do more things, then we'll be able to work in other ways."

Shewbert said that would entail continued work in education and additional small business development.

"We want to get into these communities to show people and give them the tools to start small businesses," Shewbert said.

For Sen. Curt Thompson, the opening was the realization of a campaign promise made seven years ago. He said the new center would be "at the heart of a resurgent Gwinnett County" and he praised the leadership of the Gwinnett Village CID and the GVCA.

"Gwinnett Village will definitely be a place to live, work and play," Thompson said.