Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan A look at the front of the Sugar Hill City Hall on West Broad Street which features copper enamel throughout the structure.
SUGAR HILL -- Package in hand, Shirley Pfaffinger and her husband Allen looked at the Sugar Hill seal in the marble floor of the new city hall with admiration.
The Pfaffingers were a day early to mail their envelope at the mini-post office, as staffers used Monday and Tuesday to unpack boxes and set up supplies. But the couple was excited to peek around the new 33,000-square-foot edifice anchoring Sugar Hill's downtown before it opens for business Wednesday.
"I think it's beautiful," Shirley Pfaffinger said.
"It's real uptown," her husband added. "The next best thing is it's all paid for."
That point is on the top of City Manager Bob Hail's list of accomplishments for the new $11 million city building, which replaces a 1974 structure originally built with 4,500 square feet. Even with an expansion nearly doubling the size six years ago, the city staff had outgrown the space in the past four decades, a time span when the population grew from 2,500 to 18,500.
The public areas -- the entrance, council chambers and customer service area -- are gorgeous, built with a turn-of-the-century flair.
"This is where the people's work is done and we want (residents) to know we think it is important enough to have a nice, comfortable place for them," Hail said, adding that developing a quality building is important as an example of what the northern Gwinnett city wants from developers interested in building downtown shops and restaurants.
"It's our time. We believe that we have a very good run government. We provide a lot of services. Our citizens deserve a good downtown," Hail said, adding that council members waited until they had saved half of the money in the city's general fund and could receive the other half through the county sales tax program.
Council members added ideas along the way, Hail added, showing off the apse that seats the council in the council chambers on the top floor and added a portico on the main level and outdoor restrooms for the city lawn below.
That lawn, he added, gives the city more opportunities for outdoor events, along with a new amphitheater, built as part of a stormwater detention/retention pond overflow area that officials hope will make the city downtown more attractive to developers.
That downtown envisioned for West Broad Street, he said, has been a driving force for the project, with a small parking deck added as a further incentive for developers, making parking easier.
"It's truly a build-it-and-they-will-come concept," Hail said. "We're bringing people downtown."
Officials will host a grand opening ceremony and open house at 1 p.m. Sunday for the new city hall, located at 5039 West Broad St.