To a casual observer, it gives credence to the big bang theory. It amazed me how Peachtree Corners up and became its own city, just like that. To think this nebulous land mass spilling over and around five ZIP codes, tucked between two other counties and bordered by six miles of loops and folds of the Chattahoochee with the rest of its perimeter notched by at least 30 corners would, bam, just like that, become the biggest city in Gwinnett County. And with 17 square miles of territory and 38,000 people, it beats out Lawrenceville by 50 percent and 30 percent respectively.
But it really didn't happen just like that. The planning for this only planned community in the county, started not with digitized maps but with pencil and paper back in 1968.
Paul Duke, a member of the Georgia Tech National Advisory Board, persuaded investors to support the construction of Technology Park to provide high-tech jobs and also worked to establish covenants to control the quality of life in what he envisioned to be Peachtree Corners.
In the late '70s, Jim Cowart jumped aboard, building quality homes in accordance with the strict zoning codes. Wesleyan School and Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center soon enhanced the community and then The Forum came in to provide the "unofficial downtown," where people could walk outdoors from store to store.
Peachtree Corners' development was always about more than roads, maps and policies. A real people-to-people community formed among the residents, despite the sprawling size and shape. The United Peachtree Corners Civic Association began in 1993 to address land use concerns and worked in partnership with developers to create a livable community.
To define their space and get more people involved, UPCCA held a contest for Norcross High School students to design a street sign topper. Tracy Rodriquez created the winning design and Peachtree Corner's Steve Chinnis put it into production.
For a small donation for the upkeep of Peachtree Parkway, the city's main thoroughfare, residents can display a window cling in their cars, homes or businesses showing their pride in their soon-to-be city.
Circles of friends make their togetherness known in other ways beyond the many corners of their community, like the nine Iron Girls, led by Sonia Lee, who recently finished a triathlon together at Lake Lanier.
Next weekend at their second Annual Peachtree Corners Festival, they will celebrate their official city status. It will kick off with a road race on Saturday, followed by a car show, music, crafts, jugglers, food and the famous "Tree Man."
On Sunday, U.S. Congressman Rob Woodall will serve as Grand Marshall for their parade and U.S. Congressman Tom Rice, on behalf of Gov. Deal, will present to Mayor Mike Mason the official proclamation declaring Peachtree Corners Gwinnett's newest city.
If you check out the activities at www.peachtreecornersfestival.com, you might conclude that Peachtree Corners really will be starting off with a big bang.
Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at email@example.com