When Snellville Mayor Barbara Bender was elected to the City Council as a councilwoman in 2005, one of the projects city leaders were already trying to get going was the creation of a downtown district for the southern Gwinnett city.

A city study in 2003 had played a large part in realizing a dream of Snellville having its own downtown district, although Bender said the roots go back to the late 1990s, when city leaders decided to build a new City Hall on Oak Road.