Planning and Development:
September’s development and construction activities have continued to demonstrate solid growth in Sugar Hill. Many of the residential lots that were platted earlier last year are now moving into the construction phase. Year to date, we have issued a total of 169 permits for new residential construction and have permitted over 110,000 square feet of new commercial construction. Both numbers are well over what we facilitated during this same time period last year (118 new residential permits and 48,000 square feet of new commercial space in 2015).
Commercial activity also continues as the Reeves Young Headquarters building is coming closer to being dried in, LA Fitness is pushing closer towards obtaining a certificate of occupancy, and the Sugar Hill Auto Collision on Highway 20 is now complete and open for business. Several new businesses are making an investment in Sugar Hill as Daddy O’Brien’s has permitted tenant improvements at the retail building in front of Kroger and Northside Hospital has permitted a permanent MRI facility on Highway 20 on the east side of town.
Last month the primary focus was on several notable environmental compliance matters in the Level Creek drainage basin that have since been resolved. Staff was able to achieve compliance and complete all corrective measures in a prompt manner. Our own Mauricio Torres has recently completed his ICC certification for residential building inspection, completing six categories in the program. This enabled the department to keep pace with a significant amount of the workload in-house. Mr. Torres will provide inspection services for the city as a Housing and Property Maintenance Inspector.
Parks and Recreation:
Recreation. Staff has taken over full responsibility of the downtown landscape maintenance, bringing this service in-house. The extent of service includes the old Buice School, the Suite Spot, City Hall, the Bowl, the Splash Park and our downtown streetscape on West Broad/Alton Tucker. Our staff has taken the lead in getting some of the weeds under control in the planting beds and has added some color in front of City Hall. Maintenance is being staged out of the new facility on Austin Garner across from Gary Pirkle Park and staff has taken on the additional responsibilities with eagerness and pride.
Golf. The golf course remains healthy, while being slightly behind our strong 2015 summer. A number of big tournaments are on the schedule for October. The fall is a great time to hit the links with the cool mornings and warm afternoons we are currently experiencing. The course continues to receive great support from the partnership with GolfNow.
Marketing, Events and Economic Development:
Sugar Rush. The annual fall festival and concert will be held this Saturday, October 15th with events scheduled all day for all ages and activity levels. The fun kicks off in the morning at 8:30 a.m. with a 5K, followed by a car show, vendors, food, games and family fun from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The musicians are scheduled to take the stage at The Bowl at 5:45 p.m. with Joe & Joe along with “The Voice” star Ellie Lawrence. The main act, an Eagles tribute band called Seven Bridges will immediately follow.
Thursdays @ The Hill. Our Thursday night food truck festival concluded for the year last week with high expectations for next spring. The event moved this year from the Town Lawn to Temple Drive and the family plaza behind City Hall. The regular event gives local vendors an opportunity to showcase their wares, purvey their edibles, and display their musical talents while meeting friends and neighbors in a casual setting. Kudos to our events staff for making a successful transition from the gazebo to the plaza and managing the pedestrian, traffic, and logistics associated with this community-building activity.
Public Works and Utilities:
Gas Department. Our gas staff continues to work on utility relocation and locate services on the Highway 20 widening project, the Suwanee Dam Road at West Price improvements project and Johnson Road sewer projects as they move closer to the finish line. Staff has completed over 840 locates for the month of September along with thirteen new meter installations as the city continues to improve and grow.
Street & Stormwater Department. Staff continues work on debris management, right-of-way mowing, and road maintenance as the Fall fast approaches. The department also provides roll-off dumpster services and development inspections for new construction; as well as stormwater regulatory compliance and support services to other city departments. We are grateful for their assistance in providing repair work to the east side of The Suite Spot building in preparation for the new mural painting.
Bowl Improvements. While most of the construction has been completed, the contractor did receive the order for the permanent wall lighting and performed the installation last month, along with the finishing elements of the Splash Park. The contractor is now working through a punch list of corrections, some of which are substantial, to make before contract closeout. Our parks staff is now operating the splash park having received training from the subcontractor on the operations, programming, and maintenance.
EpiCenter. Utility coordination is ongoing while the clearing activity has begun for the project. The demolition of the house at 4979 West Broad Street is right around the corner along with the heavy earthmoving and grading. The schedule is ramping up with deliveries and dirt hauling to bring more traffic downtown.
Highway 20 Widening. The GDOT contractor continues to work diligently on the widening project, but has exceeded the original contract deadline of September 30. The latest projections have them opening all lanes of traffic in both directions before the holidays and finishing most of the activities shortly thereafter. There will most likely be construction activity in and around the area and westward to Forsyth as the three separate contracts approach various stages of completion.
Downtown Construction and Development. The City’s Downtown Development Authority, in partnership with the developer is working on a plan for the block between Hillcrest and Temple Drive that will transform the skyline of Sugar Hill. One of the early steps in the process involves the relocation of several downtown businesses. The most recent of these was the Sugar Hill Collision Center, which moved west to Old Cumming and Highway 20. The next stage involves the demolition of the remaining structures and closing the beloved Sugar Hill Car Wash at the end of the month. Our community will certainly miss the memories of these facilities; however, certainly appreciate the improvements coming to our downtown.