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Council adopts new plan for Towne Center @ Snellville

Artist rendering. The vision for the Towne Center @ Snellville, unveiled Monday evening, includes districts such as the arts and education district, pictured above. The rendering features a green lawn and a theater.

Artist rendering. The vision for the Towne Center @ Snellville, unveiled Monday evening, includes districts such as the arts and education district, pictured above. The rendering features a green lawn and a theater.

SNELLVILLE -- Snellville officially has a new plan for the future.

The vision for the revitalization of the city's downtown area through the creation of the Towne Center @ Snellville was unveiled Monday evening. The plan includes new greenspaces, a downtown shopping district, an arts and education district and a professional office district.

A key element of the plan is a system of bridges and tunnels that will create a more walkable city, connecting the northern and southern areas of the town that border U.S. Highway 78.

The vision began with a Livable Center Initiative study project conducted in December 2003, which was funded by the Atlanta Regional Commission. The plan further developed as a Market Opportunity Assessment identified two distinct activity areas in Snellville: a town center green community gathering district and a regional learning and performance destination district.

The final recommendation was developed after input was collected from more than 1,000 community members through online surveys, one-on-one interviews and public envisioning and branding workshops.

Snellville resident Wayne McLendon said he thinks the plan was well thought out.

"I've been looking forward to something exciting happening in the city of Snellville," he said. "I like the idea of being able to walk to restaurants and get on my bike and ride on a bike trail."

While the Snellville City Council voted to embrace the Towne Center @ Snellville vision and master plan as a guiding document, there are no firm plans for the development of the project.

Councilwoman Kelly Kautz pointed out that there is no funding for the project, but she said she's optimistic that the vision will help lead Snellville in the right direction whenever development does happen.

Tom Witts, a councilman, said he won't stop working toward the development of the Towne Center as long as he's on the council.

"This may take 20 years to do, but at least now we have a plan," Witts said. "When opportunity presents itself the next time, we're going to be ready for it."

Barbara Bender, the city's mayor pro tem, said all the input from the community helped "morph" the Towne Center vision into what it is today.

"We've got a long road ahead to figure out how to put all of these little pieces together," she said.

Snellville resident Frederick Muldrow said he thinks the Towne Center will be great for the future of the city. He said he's excited by the idea of having more businesses come in and making the city a more desirable place to shop.

"All my money will stay here in Snellville versus going to other cities," Muldrow said. "I can stay at home, where I can see my tax dollars reinvested for my son and grandkids (to enjoy) down the road."