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Business district to pay for Pleasant Hill bridge upgrades

LAWRENCEVILLE -- An area business coalition has added $1.2 million to enhance the Pleasant Hill Road bridge over Interstate 85, which will soon be transformed into a diverging-diamong model.

The Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District, which collects extra taxes from members including the county's oldest mall and surrounding property owners, agreed to pay for upgrades to the lighting, sidewalks, landscaping and more, improving the aesthetics to the bridge while the traffic work is under way.

"It's something we traditionally don't include in our road projects," Gwinnett Transportation Director Kim Conroy said Tuesday, after commissioners approved the additional funds from the CID, which will be applied to the contract for the overall project. "They are having our contractors do it, but they are paying for it."

The CID, which has worked to improve the aesthetics and other aspects of the community in an attempt to increase business, worked to design a unique look to the bridge, which will link streetscaping improvements in the works on both sides along Pleasant Hill.

"We're trying to dress Pleasant Hill up," said CID Director Joe Allen. "We wrestle with the barren, congested streets we have now. We want to make them more inviting and walkable."

With a break expected during the holiday shopping season, the upgrades are expected to be complete about this time next year.

"It brings a synergy back to the area, that something is going on here," Allen said. "I think people are getting excited. ... It's going to be a signature piece of architecture for the area."

Using sales tax dollars, the county will pay for the diverging-diamond construction, which is expected to be awarded to a contractor in the coming months, Conroy said. The new model will shift traffic to the opposite side of the road, allowing right turns on and off the interstate.

The design is also being applied to the Jimmy Carter Boulevard bridge over I-85, and the Gwinnett Village CID, a neighboring organization, will pay for similar upgrades. That project is a couple of months behind the Pleasant Hill one, Conroy said.

Comments

R 2 years, 4 months ago

Businesses wont actually pay for these enhancements - their CLIENTS will ... Just remember where you shop.

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Dubbin 2 years, 4 months ago

Refreshing to see that somebody still understands economics. If we have to have gingerbread on a bridge I'm glad that the tax money will be collected voluntarily (you choose where you shop) rather than via property taxes.

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LilburnLady 2 years, 4 months ago

Yes, make sure you don't patronize business owners who 1) care about their community 2) put their own dollars to work to beautify and upgrade the area and 3) pay for extra security out of their own pockets that makes us all safer. Oh and make sure you continue to vote for corrupt,k do-nothing politicians who waste your tax dollars as you continue to wait for the "government" to fix our traffic issues. Personally, I'll go shop in the CID area every week just to show my support for the CID's continuing efforts to turn this area around.

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R 2 years, 4 months ago

It’s NOT their money if it CAME out of YOUR wallet EVERY time you BUY something - YOU brought it!

They can deduct it BUT You can’t

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thurisaz 2 years, 4 months ago

Actually, it is their money. They get paid for services rendered, the same as anyone that ever receives a paycheck. Do you have a job? When you get money for that job, is it the company's money? No, it is your money, to do with as you please. It's no different here, and their decision to do something with it is not some malicious scheme to...what, improve the area? Those villains!

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Mack711 2 years, 4 months ago

In the long run we, the taxpayer, may have to pay for this. This is on state property why should a group erect this on state property.

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LilburnLady 2 years, 4 months ago

The group is not erecting it, the County is. The group is just paying for it. This has already been done in Cobb County. The Cumberland Mall area CID voluntarily paid to have a new off-ramp built at the intersection of the I=285 and I-75 and to rework some of the ramps. The CID wins because they get better traffic flow into their shopping/business district and the public wins ecause they get a better road without higher taxes or having to pay tolls.

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GPBusinessman 2 years, 4 months ago

As a business owner in the area, I'm astounded by the comments. Do the posters remember what the area looked like before the CID was formed? The CID was formed voluntarily by the businesses and is funded by the private sector. The idea that every penny paid by businesses will be passed on to the consumer is idiotic, that would only work in a perfectly inelastic demand scenario, which this recession certainly proves it's not. Property owners and businesses are mostly absorbing the extra private tax in an effort to improve the area.

Mack, using stated facts, because I know you've researched the exact funding and O&M criteria of the program and have been involved in all of the open sunshine disclosures, please inform the public how the taxpayer will have to pay for this.

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Mack711 2 years, 4 months ago

When you build something on State or Federal property does it not become State or Federal property? Since these bridges are associated with the Interstate system, is that not Federal property, since parts of the funds were Federal money as well? Will this CID maintain this structure forever? Take a look at what happened to the 17th Street Bridge recently. If it is on State or Federal property then the taxpayer is responsible. Should someone become injured because of this then they may go after deep pockets, the taxpayer We are all for improving our local areas; however let’s start with the high priority things first. Like the crime rate and the amount of business leaving that area due to crime. Over the years there have been many business leave this area for one reason or another. Most will not notice these ‘decorations’ as they are traveling either across 85 or on 85. Most could care less. In the end the consumer will pay for this in higher costs for goods and services at these CID stores and business. The business will pass the cost on to us, the consumer. These businesses are in business for profit, not loss.

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R 2 years, 4 months ago

Sorry this is just not the complete case. You absorb what you CAN"T pass on that’s business 101. You hope to increase margins by business volume increases in traffic but don’t call reality idiotic. While it is true some of these projects are completed using MATCHING or block grants obtained from the state or Fed government entities, but where do you think THESE funds come from? Who will pay for maintenance on the trimmings long term?

Gingerbread is the best description yet, its sweet at first but doesn’t last long term…

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LilburnLady 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank goodness the Gwinnett Place CID has pushed this revamping of the bridge over I-85. It is one of the worst bottlenecks in the county. At least the CID has some new ideas. The County DOT's only solution to traffic congestion is to build more roads. This bridge rework will ease congestion without having to spend 100's of millions of dollars and then collect tolls on top of that (i.e., HOT Lanes). The CID members tax themselves voluntarily and they decide how much and what that money is used for. Imagine if taxpayers could do the same thing?

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kevin 2 years, 4 months ago

This is the result of poor planning and engineering in the first place by the State. In the end, we all know that those businesses will pass on this cost to its customers so the surrounding tax base will pay eventually. Another reason we are pushing to defeat another 1% tax to build more roads- for 10 years no less. And this bill gives us the opportunity to tax ourselves again after that for another 10 yrs. This is getting to be such a joke when we are 18th in the nation for highest taxes on gas.

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LilburnLady 2 years, 4 months ago

Here's the thing, you don't have to shop at businesses in that area! I agree, that the 1 cent transportation tax should not be imposed and I plan to vote against it. Government has proven that they are not good stewards or managers of our tax dollars. I would much rather have the opportunity to choose to spend my money in an area where I know the business owners are putting their money into improving the area. I do not want to have to pay an extra penny sales tax EVERYWHERE I shop to hand over to our clueless local politicians whose only notion of how to fix things is simply to throw more money at problems, make government larger by creating new agencies, boards and task forces who "study" our traffic problems without ever actually fixing anything.

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kevin 2 years, 4 months ago

You don't think that this CID is a connected-arm of the government? Might want to think again. They relieve all those monies from Gwinnett County so the County has more to spend, or waste away on something else more foolish. It still is going to come from taxpayers.

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R 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah we've THAT before too ... give it 5 -10 years before we judge if it IMPROVES flow. I get a sinking feeling it will be revamped yet again. How many places are these diamonds located in? It’s the Sea Pine Traffic Circle on Steroids.

You know the first rule of sales; if you can't fix it - FEATURE it! The CID will be selling “I Survived the Diamond” tee shirts at a store near you or maybe even taking bets in the casino…

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Mack711 2 years, 4 months ago

With the diamond traffic approach it will stop traffic on one side of the bridge while the other side changes lanes to turn left. Now think about this you will be taking one direstion out of service creating a bottle neck while the other side moves. Common senes 101 says that this will not work. GDOT is willing to throw good money at bad ideas, like the HOT lanes.

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kevin 2 years, 4 months ago

This is another reason to kill the 1% transportation tax. Do the people really know what they will be voting for if they approve it? 10 more years of taxing yourself to death. All these new things are being done for the big money people who live around these areas. DO you think the little guy is being considered in these projects? This transportation tax is a gimmick to get idiots to tax themselves for 10 more years.

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Reason 2 years, 4 months ago

There is an old saying; One can not polish a turd. A new interchange would be needed. That should be part of the big picture, as part whatever gets done with the old Western Electric grounds. But a gambling video hall/hotel just will not get it done. One must look to a more rewarding and larger type of project, that would invite a true partnership with the state, where multiple interests, including the citizens of gwinnett can gain from. It could happen, but it would take a well connected person with vision and logic to make it so. The location is prime for something that is being looked at from the wrong end at this time.

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R 2 years, 4 months ago

If the video complex is OUT - how about MOVING the capital functions of state government there? The dome is vastly overcrowded to continue to serve long term, so lets move the elected reps up here.. Senator Balfor could save money at the same time.

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ssilover1 2 years, 4 months ago

You can't improve things without putting dollars behind it. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.

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