Management Report – January 2017

Planning and Development:
Development Studies. The research and data phase of the Buford Highway study is complete. Staff is synthesizing all data and is working to assemble a summary report in preparation to present all findings and recommendations to the Mayor and Council next month. While staff was working on the final details of the Buford Highway study, the consultant team accomplished a large portion of the initial research on the

Highway 20 corridor. As part of the initial research work, management plans to conduct a strategic public input exercise along with holding interviews with key shareholders in the coming weeks.

Development Permits. Residential development continues to show strong growth at the conclusion of 2016. Department staff has issued 103 more permits in December than the same time last year which represents an increase of 66% over 2015. New commercial development has remained consistent in the second and third quarter; however, after a strong month, year to date totals show an increase on commercial buildings as well.

Code Enforcement/Building Inspections. Building activity was robust in December and staff worked to perform 202 building code inspections and 169 zoning and property maintenance code inspections this past month.

Parks and Recreation:
City Hall/Downtown/Town Green: Our staff did a phenomenal job decorating the downtown area for the holidays and more recently removing the decorations. Staff worked diligently to de-construct the two large Christmas trees and a myriad of other lights and decorations that were taken down last week. We appreciate our hardworking Recreation staff for their efforts to make our downtown atmosphere festive.

3rd Annual Sugar Hill Ice Rink. The Ice Rink is open weekends and on select weeknights through Sunday, February 19th. Attendance has been strong and we anticipate exceeding last year’s total with the rink located at its new home on the community plaza. The rink is on pace to surpass 12,000 guests this winter and has become an annual tradition visited by local citizens and many from other states as well. It is scheduled to be open Thursday through Sunday and available for groups and special events on Monday through Wednesday. For details and information, visit

Parks. Although many of the features at the venue allow for year-round enjoyment, activity at our parks has been limited with colder weather setting in for the winter.

Golf Course. The golf course finished 2016 ahead of previous year’s numbers in terms of both rounds booked as well as revenues received. The trends continue to rise; however, like the rest of the economic recovery, the return has been a slow one. The course was closed and the greens covered over the weekend due to freezing temperatures. The warmer weather forecasted this week sounds promising and will yield some playable days to add to an ordinarily bleak month.

Marketing, Events and Economic Development:
Mural Update. The mural on the Suite Spot facing Level Creek Road is expected to reach completion by January 15th, weather permitting. “The Sweet Life” tagline has transformed into a beautiful and welcoming work of art for everyone to enjoy as they enter the downtown area. A ribbon cutting for the completed mural will be held on Sunday, February 12th at 3:00 p.m. in conjunction with an open house at The Suite Spot from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Gwinnett Chamber. The city will host the Gwinnett Chamber’s Business After Hours event on January 19th from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The event provides an opportunity for business executives to meet new people and network with others in the business community.

Ribbon Cutting. Daddy O’Brien’s Irish Ice Cream Pub and Eatery held their grand opening of their new brick and mortar restaurant location this week. Their new location can be found in the Kroger shopping center off Highway 20.

Real Estate Interest. Due to an increased interest in development within the city, management has been asked to speak at several local real estate agencies over the next month about the city and its growth.

2017 Concert Series. Staff is working diligently to coordinate dates and secure artists for the 2017 Sweet Life Concert series. Quantum Bank and PPI have already agreed to return as key sponsors this year. More information is expected in the coming weeks.

Public Works and Utilities:
Street/Stormwater. The Street Department, among their fundamental responsibilities, has been working to support recent property acquisition downtown with site cleanup and remediation efforts. They have been responsible for the demolition and clean up at the three buildings on Hillcrest Drive over the last month, including the relocation of the 1193 building to the Public Works yard to serve as a new equipment building. The relocation work by the department will save the city some $350,000 on a new building. Our staff also worked tirelessly to prepare for, monitor and respond to winter weather conditions in the 72 hours before and after our recent winter storm. The commitment of our public works staff is exemplary and appreciated.

Gas. The Gas Department continues to work with the County, CW Matthews, and private developers on relocation of gas lines in conflict with various projects, although most activity was winding down in December. The staff completed 35 leak investigation work orders and a little less than 500 locates for the month. The city finished the year retaining its status as the lowest priced gas provider in the state among all municipalities and marketers across Georgia.

Construction Update:
EpiCenter. The mixed use development planned next door to City Hall is well underway with most of the earthwork having been completed; the retaining walls complete and underground utility construction nearing the finish line. The focus is now on the aggregate piers and foundations required to building the structured parking for the project and move closer to vertical construction set to get started in early spring. There is still a long way to go to open the facility, but the contractor has made the most of the cooperative dry weather and even been able to work through many of the recent storm events.

Community Garden Parking Lot. The community garden is going to get an upgrade this year with improvements proposed to begin later this month at the facility. A pervious paver parking system is planned for the community garden to replace the amorphous gravel parking lot at the location. The pavers will enhance the appearance of the entrance and experience of visitors to the facility.

Sugar Hill Greenway Project. The first phase of this project will connect the city’s downtown with the two parks on Level Creek and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard with trail heads in the planning stages on Level Creek and Whitehead Roads. The nearly five mile route is programmed for construction to begin in 2017 and follow existing rightofways and easements to streamline the implementation. Staff and the project team are working with partnering agencies to formalize agreements and permits necessary to complete the project.

Suwanee Dam Road at Riverside Intersection Project. The county is still in the right-ofway phase on this project and has acquired about half of the parcels. The project is expected to be under construction by the end of this year.

Highway 20 Widening. CW Matthews has opened up several segments within the project limits to multiple lanes and has remobilized after a winter holiday break. A number of key segments still await additional work prior to opening the full stretch of highway. CW Matthews’ contract extends from Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to just past the Twin Creeks neighborhood.