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Sugar Hill City Hall construction coming along

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Labor worker Clarence Ballany prepares mud for the brick layers during construction of the new Sugar Hill City Hall on June 27, which is estimated to be completed in December. The city of Sugar Hill is in the process of building a new city hall building, an amphitheater, a detention pond and road construction. Residents of Sugar Hill are not being taxed to fund the project because the city has been saving for the past 9 years.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Labor worker Clarence Ballany prepares mud for the brick layers during construction of the new Sugar Hill City Hall on June 27, which is estimated to be completed in December. The city of Sugar Hill is in the process of building a new city hall building, an amphitheater, a detention pond and road construction. Residents of Sugar Hill are not being taxed to fund the project because the city has been saving for the past 9 years.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Sugar Hill City Manager Bob Hail surveys the progress made of the new city hall building on June 27.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The city of Sugar Hill is in the process of a building a amphitheater, and a detention pond. Residents of Sugar Hill are not being taxed to fund the project because the city has been saving for the past 9 years.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Scaffolding consume the inside the entrance of the new Sugar Hill City Hall which is estimated to be completed in December.

SUGAR HILL -- Chomping a cigar and sporting a yellow hard hat, City Manager Bob Hail walks the perimeter of a construction site on a sweltering afternoon, the rising dust of Georgia red clay filling his lungs.

The man beams as he watches builders assemble his city's future nail by nail, brick by brick. The construction in downtown Sugar Hill -- which consists of roadwork, a roundabout, an amphitheater and a 30,000-square-foot city hall -- is coming together, Hail said.

The project, slated for completion in December, is a $15.5 million combination of earmarked city savings and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds -- with 55 percent funded by SPLOST and 45 percent city-funded, Hail said.

The largest of the downtown projects, a city hall building that is double the size of the current one, will cost about $11.5 million.

"We're at full capacity," Hail said. "We've grown more than 8,000 people since I've been here (about 10 years). We can't expand city hall anymore, so we've been saving money for several years now so that we could use it to build an even bigger city hall than what the SPLOST funds would have allowed."

He envisions city hall and the rest of the renovations and construction downtown as an extension of "the community life."

"It's what we're all about," Hail said. "Do we want to be the industrial leaders of the South? No. We're a city of families. Quality of life and family -- that's what we do."

That lifestyle, he said, will include restaurants and clothing stores downtown, just a short walk for residents. In an effort to lure such businesses to Sugar Hill, Hail said "we're making it about as easy as it can be."

There are about 30 parcels, which can hook on to the city's storm drain system, so that businesses that build within municipal boundaries won't have to build their own detention ponds.

"All the utilities also are underground, ready to go, so developers can come here and build their building," Hail said. "They attach, and they're all set."

Added Hail: "It's a build-it-and-they-will-come incentive."

The city manager added that the road projects, which include a roundabout, aim to make the city "more than a cut-through ... we are slowing down the traffic, because if you're coming to Sugar Hill, we want it to be on purpose, not as a cut-through to somewhere else. We are aiming for a pedestrian-friendly destination."

Mayor Gary Pirkle said he's pleased with the direction the city's headed.

"It will be nice having a downtown area that we didn't have before," Pirkle said. "In addition, it will bring in businesses and make it more of an inviting place to live. Our town will have a nice centerpiece."

Dawn Gober, the Downtown Development Authority director, said she's hoping that the added attractiveness to her native city "will bring some restaurants and items of interest to our citizens. We're all very excited to see where this takes us."

Hail agreed. "You're looking at the future," he said, arms crossed, beaming as he watched the downtown progress.

Comments

notblind 1 year, 9 months ago

What's the monthly upkeep and utility bill going to COST the taxpayers ?? And does anyone really believe that nonsense that "Residents of Sugar Hill are not being taxed to fund the project because the city has been saving for 9 years". Sugar Hill residents have been overpaying taxes for 9 years to fund this project.

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kevin 1 year, 9 months ago

Easy come, easy go. Funny how politicians love to be in nice buildings that seem to set them apart. They also like things with their names on them. They have no other life in the private sector to make a mark for themselves.

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notblind 1 year, 9 months ago

You can't forget the hired bureaucrats. Many of them get so entrenched that they think the own the place.

I am also wondering how much it's going to cost the taxpayers to repave Whitehead Rd. There has been a steady stream of large dump trucks making a round trip between the Sugar Hill construction site and some other site.

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Suwaneelover 1 year, 9 months ago

Public buildings are a part of what makes a city, a city. It's the identity that goes with the quality services and amenities that distinguishes a "city" from the unincorporated county.

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SugarHillResident 1 year, 7 months ago

A few thoughts:

Isn't this really keeping up with 'Jonses'?
Seems this is city office envy: see Duluth, Buford, Suwanee. The economy is in the dumper, people are screaming for less federal government and we are building an $15.5 million project for city hall (!?!)

What is the budget for furnishings?

What is the cost per head per City of Sugar Hill resident? ($820 per resident based on a population of 18,980 from the latest census. The cost per household?

There is a good bit of vacant commercial space that could be rented for a 'song' in the county. Look around; this is just about the only new construction going on. I know city hall was very modest for years, but this is a small city and the County provides most services.

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