The City of Suwanee puts a spur towards more mixed-use development expecting pedestrianization.
By Anna Kim
In the 2012 National Citizens Survey, conducted in November, Suwanee residents placed the City of Suwanee among the top 10 performing communities in 32 of the 117 questions addressed. For the third consecutive year, residents have rated the city highly, generally above and often much above ratings received from residents in some 500 other jurisdictions across the country.
In particular, residents' responses made Suwanee, which commits to maintaining a high-quality of life for its 16,000 residents, #1 in four areas: City Parks; Preservation of Natural Areas; Availability of Affordable Quality Child Care; and Land Use, Planning and Zoning. This year Suwanee gears up towards walkable community making these residents’ responses as a springboard of prosperity.
The City of Suwanee continues to have a number of large projects that will take a number of years to fully implement.
“One that I am very excited about is the pedestrianization of Buford Highway. This project has been in the planning stages for many years, and we expect to actually begin construction in spring 2017,” said Jimmy Burnette, Mayor of the City of Suwanee. “The addition of sidewalks and bike lanes will make the city more walkable and spur more mixed-use development in the heart of the city, extending the commercial activities surrounding Town Center along Buford Highway, including the Terwilliger Pappas development announced in late summer 2015.”
This development features 240 residential units and 12,000 square feet of retail, and has grown to include about 75 townhouses as well. The construction is expected to begin in the spring as well. The City of Suwanee has a packed calendar of incredible strategic plans for growth and prosperity.
The 20/20 Vision, one of the city’s strategic plans, which guides the community where Suwanee will become over the next decade, will never really be complete. That is to say, the plan serves as an ongoing set of priorities that the city works on as resources allow. The official document includes over 100 potential projects, some for the city and some for the community. Many goals and initiates have been undertaken, and the city has already made a lot of progress.
To step up the game, the reflection of the past accomplishments is needed. The City of Suwanee cited three facts as the main selling points which were reached last year: Approval of New Park Plan, Bond Refinance, and Brushy Creek Trail.
▷Approval of New Park Plan
City Council unanimously approved the master plan for the city’s newest park at the September 27 meeting. Located on the approximately 25-acre site, known as the DeLay Property, the new park will be situated behind the Suwanee library and PlayTown Suwanee on Suwanee Dam Road. The property was purchased in 2002 as an early acquisition of the community-driven comprehensive park and open space initiative.
The Suwanee City Council adopted a bond resolution and bond purchase agreement at their May 24 meeting and voted to approve the refinancing of the city’s outstanding Open Space bonds, resulting in savings of $3 million over the life of the bond for Suwanee tax payers. Based on current market conditions and Suwanee’s AAA bond rating, the city was able to forward refund the approximately $12.3 million bond and lock-in at a 1.96 percent rate (formerly 4.3 percent) with JPMorgan Chase.
▷Brushy Creek Trail
The City of Suwanee added to its already impressive greenway system with the opening of Brushy Creek Greenway in May. A one-mile multi-use trail connecting Suwanee Dam Road at Delay Road to Stonecypher Road near Main Street, the pathway is a combination of concrete and boardwalk, the heavily wooded trail will follow the Brushy Creek corridor. The shade, combined with shorter distance, makes the Brushy Creek Greenway ideal for treks with younger children – particularly since it connects to PlayTown Suwanee and the library.
Mayor Burnette regards the Brushy Creek Trail as a key part for the pedestrianization of the city.
“The Brushy Creek Greenway is integral to our connected greenway system,” said Mayor Burnette. “The new trail is also in-line with the alternative transportation portion of our Downtown Suwanee Master Plan by creating more walking and biking opportunities for our citizens.”
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Suwanee Fest. <Photo=suwanee.com>
Mayor Jimmy Burnette and his wife Caron Burnette.