BOC, residents discuss concerns of southern Gwinnett

LOGANVILLE -- As Tommy Hunter spoke to several friends and neighbors on Wednesday night, his message was clear: He's willing to listen to concerns about southern Gwinnett as long as you're willing to get involved and help make improvements.

At a town hall meeting at Grayson High School, community members raised questions and concerns about land use, zoning, library funding, parks and recreation, and animal safety to the five assembled county commissioners. The event, which lasted a little more than an hour, and was attended by about 40 residents, is the third in a series of town hall meetings around the county.

"It's going to take us all," said Hunter, who represents the area where the meeting was held. "But if we all work together, we'll make Gwinnett a great place to live, work, play and raise a family."

Representatives from several county departments were also available to answer residents' questions. The final stop in the town hall series is scheduled for May 9 at Lucky Shoals Park in Norcross.

For several of the residents, the Snellville-Centerville area, especially along Ga. Highway 124, was referred to as a "lost colony" or largely ignored by public safety personnel.

"It doesn't seem like anybody is giving any consideration to making Centerville more pleasing to the eye," Snellville resident Andy Copeland said.

Former Commissioner Curtis McGill added that Lenora Park needed more restrooms and upgrades to landscaping and ball fields, and sidewalks need to be created for children to get to the park.

Hunter said that Lenora Park is already a priority, and Chairwoman Charlotte Nash added that since Ga. 124 is a state highway, there are limitations to what the county could do. But the commissioners said they would reach out to state transportation officials to find out what is planned for the area.

Hunter said his goal is to create one community, not a group of communities and he tries to keep the community as a whole in mind.

"You've got an advocate in this chair," he said. "Know that."

After a recent stabbing in Snellville, and regular road racing incidents, resident Lydia McGill said she was concerned about safety, and several neighbors had installed electric fences to address the uptick in crime and stray dogs. Hunter said commissioners would ask questions of police "to make sure we're on track," and Nash added that she could sympathize with McGill's feelings.

In closing, the commissioners said they appreciated the turnout and residents' interest in the county's future.

"I love coming to these, talking to folks," Hunter said. "You help me to do the job you sent me here to do."