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Lilburn begins Old Town revitalization

Demolition began this week of buildings on Main Street in Lilburn, the first outward sign of progress on the city’s Old Town revitalization. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

Demolition began this week of buildings on Main Street in Lilburn, the first outward sign of progress on the city’s Old Town revitalization. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

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Demolition began this week in Lilburn on two properties near the intersection with U.S. Highway 29 as the city began a revitalization project. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

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Demolition began this week of buildings on Main Street in Lilburn, the first outward sign of progress on the city’s Old Town revitalization. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

LILBURN — Motorists traveling along Main Street near U.S. 29 this week noticed the first visible sign of progress on Lilburn’s Old Town revitalization project.

Burns Garner Inc. of Loganville performed the demolition of two buildings on both sides of the S.M.I.L.E. building, which will also be demolished after the nonprofit finds a new home. Before they were vacant, the properties housed the Bailey Cabinet Shop and a chiropractic office. The demolition will make room for a road realignment, city spokeswoman Nikki Perry said.

Chris Garner of Burns Garner, Inc. was awarded the bid in the same town where his grandfather, Lonnie Oco Garner, and several other relatives once lived. He said it’s fun to come back to their old town.

“There’s a lot of history there,” he said.

The demolition project begins the city’s move uptown from city hall’s current location next to the railroad tracks where it was founded. By the end of next year, the new $10 million city hall and library are planned to sit atop a hill at the corner of a newly realigned Main Street and Church Street.

There’s also more than 22 acres of developed land with highway frontage that is ready for private investment, Perry said.

Road construction contractors are expected to submit bids to Gwinnett County in the next four to six weeks.

Main Street construction, a partnership between the Lilburn, Gwinnett County, Lilburn Community Improvement District, and the Georgia Department of Transportation, should begin later this fall.

“Through the cooperative efforts of many governmental entities, we are able to bring a new focal point to the city,” said Doug Stacks, planning and economic development director. “The road realignment not only creates a safer intersection, it also creates vast new development opportunities in the area.”