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This aerial image shows the site of the planned Rowen research community development in eastern Gwinnett County. An 18-member task force designed to help guide planning for the development was announced this week.

An 18-member task force that will look at ways the massive Rowen research community project can partner with public and private stakeholders, and get community feedback on the development, was announced this week.

The Rowen Community Advisory Task Force includes education, government, health, faith and community leaders who will meet monthly for six months and work on a report for the Rowen Foundation. The sprawling 2,000-acre development is intended to become a medical, environmental and agricultural research center in the Dacula area on par with the Research Triangle in North Carolina.

“A critical priority for the Rowen Foundation is ensuring deep and meaningful community engagement and input as we begin to get more specific in our planning,” Rowen Foundation President Mason Ailstock said. “This group of advisors will provide invaluable guidance as we begin the hard work in earnest.”

The Rowen Foundation said the task force will work with the foundation’s governing board and staff to gather public input for the development as it moves forward through its planning phases.

Officials announced the Rowen development, which will be located north of State Route 316, between Dacula and Gwinnett-Barrow county line, last August. The plan is to have a research community — with residential and other components included — that can eventually generate 18,500 jobs by 2035, and eventually as many as 100,000 jobs in the decades to come.

It is located in an area along Highway 316 that had already been designated by county officials years ago as a research corridor, taking advantage of access to several higher education institutions, such as the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Emory University, Gwinnett Technical College, Georgia Gwinnett College and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Georgia campus in Suwanee.

“Rowen offers the elements needed to generate unprecedented economic, educational and innovative impacts rooted in the history of the site and the state. But these elements are nothing without the leadership, creativity, rigor, and partnerships to put them to work,” Rowen Foundation Board Chairman Sachin Shailendra said.

“All aspects of Rowen’s development must be actively and equitably shaped, and we are excited to welcome the Task Force to help guide our approach to actualizing these benefits.”

The task force will include:

♦ Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson

♦ Gwinnett Commissioner Jasper Watkins

♦ Gwinnett Board of Education Chairman Everton Blair

♦ State Rep. Sam Park

♦ State Rep. Chuck Efstration

♦ State Sen. Nikki Merritt

♦ PCOM Georgia Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Department of Bio-Medical Sciences Valerie Cadet

♦ Gwinnett Technical College Vice President of Economic Development/Continuing Education Department Melvin Everson

♦ Georgia Gwinnett College School of Business Dean Tyler Yu

♦ Latin American Association CEO Santiago Marquez

♦ Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce 2021 Board Chairman and Regional Director of Metro North — Georgia Power Doug Jenkins

♦ Ramp Marketing Partner Marlon Allen

♦ Andersen, Tate and Carr P.C. Partner Ethel Andersen

♦ Owner of Frederick C. Dawkins, Esq. owner Frederick Dawkins

♦ OFS Fiber Optics Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Ashish Gandhi

♦ Gwinnett County Police Department Community Affairs Section Commander, Maj. Michelle Anglin

♦ Gwinnett County government Community Program Manager Jessica Stewart

♦ Gwinnett Historical Society President Beverly Paff

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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(2) comments


Attempts were made even in North Carolina to replicate the success of the Research Triangle Park elsewhere, but these never met with the same degree of success, whether spearheaded by government or private interests. So they have their work cut out for them and I wish them luck. But please come up with a better name. "Rowen" is not a good name for a research park.


Here's my input : You were not hired to pursue land development !!!! A history of failures by the BOC has cost taxpayers dearly ! How about you take care of things like ..hmm I dont know ..trash all over the roads of the county .....sidewalks that go nowhere,...raises for police,fireman,sheriff etc.....moratorium of building until infrastructure catches up ...(the Mall of Georgia area will be the worst traffic nightmare in Atlanta in the next year!),..

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