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Funding in place for Main Street relocation

LILBURN -- Thanks to some shuffling of dollars, Lilburn's new Main Street transformation will be under way this summer.

The city has planned for years to relocate the entrance to its historic Old Towne, realigning Main Street from U.S. Highway 29 to the City Park, improving safety while creating a new spot for City Hall.

This week, commissioners boosted a county contribution to $809,000, by shifting some planning money that had been set aside for the Lilburn Community Improvement District. The business organization gave its blessing to the reallocation of $164,000, after the county asked to move sales tax funds to shovel-ready projects since proceeds were coming in at lower levels than expected.

The city funded the $100,000 design of the road and about $1.35 million for the land, plus about $165,000 of the expected construction tab. Along with an $800,000 grant the CID obtained from the State Road and Tollway Authority, the reallocation means all the funding for the realignment is available.

"This is a giant jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces have finally come together to form an incredible picture for Lilburn," Mayor Johnny Crist said. "My thanks to a great team of people who have contributed to putting each piece in place."

Expected to be complete by mid-2014, the project will replace the current skewed intersection with a more perpendicular intersection at U.S. 29. The relocated road also is set to create an improved intersection with Church Street, including turn lanes and traffic circles to allow for better access for Lilburn residents to the proposed Lilburn City Hall and library. A city leader said the state date for that $10 million, sales-tax funded project has not been set.

The realigned Main Street will tie back into existing route near its intersection with Young Street, and the old road bed will be removed. Officials said traffic circles will provide traffic calming for the area, while lowering Church Street is expected to improve visibility for drivers.

"This is a wonderful example of intergovernmental cooperation that will benefit the community in a very real way," District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard said. "Gwinnett County, the city of Lilburn and the Lilburn Community Improvement District (CID) have worked together to move this great project forward, and I look forward to many other successes like this one. I'd like to especially recognize Mayor Johnny Crist and Lilburn CID Executive Director Gerald McDowell for their efforts on this project."