Issue 12.51 | Friday, Oct. 12, 2012
GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
LILBURN, Ga., Oct. 12, 2012 -- The City of Lilburn is taking strides toward redevelopment of the city with three major projects under way. The Main Street realignment, a new City Hall and library, and a commercial development at Indian Trail/Lawrenceville Highway, are key parts of a strategic plan to revitalize Lilburn and stimulate the local economy.
Mayor Johnny Crist says: "We feel it is important for the city to lead development in a direction that will encourage quality growth and make Lilburn a destination." The Mayor and Council approved property transactions regarding the projects at its meeting on Monday.
In the first quarter of 2013, construction is expected to begin on the realignment of Main Street, starting at its intersection with U.S. Highway 29 (Lawrenceville Highway.) The $2-million road project will create a safer, more traditional intersection with the highway and allow for smooth traffic flow to Old Town, where the Calvin Fitchett Municipal Complex, City Park, the Camp Creek Greenway trailhead, and the Old Town business district are located. The road alignment creates "new ground," assemblages of properties ready for development. About 22 acres will front on the new alignment, making it a prime spot for economic growth.
The realignment will lead to the centerpiece of the city's plans for revitalization: a new City Hall and library off Church Street, near the new alignment work. An L-shaped, brick building will be perched atop a hill that is easily visible from Lawrenceville Highway - effectively bringing the City Hall uptown. The nostalgic architecture and prominent clock tower will convey the city's small-town feel, while the state-of-the-art quality of the facility will communicate the type of service residents and businesses can expect to find in Lilburn.
Made possible through the cooperative efforts of the City of Lilburn and Gwinnett County, the two-story City Hall/Library building is unique in that it is a joint project under one roof. The new City Hall will have 24,000 square feet, including administrative offices, a large meeting room, and Council Chambers. The current Municipal Complex will be occupied by the Lilburn Police Department and Court. The 20,000+ square foot replacement library will nearly double the size of the existing Lilburn Public Library.
The expected completion date of the City Hall and Library is Fall 2014. The building cost is set at $10 million in SPLOST funding, the countywide one-percent sales tax approved by voters for special projects.
While the City Hall/Library occupies a portion of one corner of the Indian Trail/Lawrenceville Highway intersection, the Lilburn Downtown Development Authority is working to secure a developer for 38 acres on the opposite side of the intersection.
Jackson Creek Water Treatment Facility is prominently located on major
commercial corridors, with 1,350 feet of frontage on Indian Trail Road
and more than 500 feet on Lawrenceville Highway. The DDA's ownership of
this property and the properties surrounding the Main Street realignment
open the door to many opportunities for redevelopment while maintaining
city control over the future.
OCT. 12, 2012 -- Lets take a moment and consider what a charter school essentially is.
It is not like regular public schools. While charter school funding comes from public sources, charter schools essentially are public versions of private schools. If Amendment One passes next month, that could upend public education in Georgia.
Heres why: public money will go to charter schools, funds that would otherwise go to the local public school. But, get this: there is no accountability of charter schools public money the way public schools do. Those with input into what a charter school teaches, and the way it is run, wont be parents of the charter school students, but, board members only reporting to the schools management, not the public. (The school itself would be authorized by a state agency of seven people appointed by the governor, not by a locally-elected board.)
Sounds crazy, right?
All this comes from a far-out organization that has been laboring behind the scenes for
years to promote its own limited-government agenda. It seeks to dramatically change public education, and then privatize most of it. The organization is called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC for short. It was founded in 1973, and consists of nearly 2,000 ultra-conservative state legislators, promoting the privatization of public schools. It also wants privatization of other ways of life, such as health care, the environment, voting laws and public safety.
And how do they accomplish this? ALEC has prepared a template of their model language it gives to like-thinking legislators for bills to introduce in their state as reform measures. In other words, this self-selected group has its own limited agenda, which it is aggressively pursuing, funded by corporate money and wealthy citizens hell-bent to get richer through less government, and less taxes.
Yes, more greed. And in the case of Amendment One, actually an expansion of government.
Over the years, one of the key agendas items of ALEC is supporting school vouchers of public money to pay for private education. Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to move to this system. Boy! Is this is bad legislation!
ALEC carries on a broad range of efforts to get their views enacted into law. Among some measures, ALEC seeks:
Back to the upcoming amendment in the Georgia election next month.
Even reading the proposal on the ballot is virtually dis-honest. The explanation on the ballot will read:
Sounds positive. And even the preamble sounds positive, saying the amendment: Provides for improving student achievement and parental involvement through more public charter school options.
Yet you must vote NO to keep public education as it now is, limiting charter schools to approval by local boards, with appeals always possible to the State Department of Education. Let me repeat: on Constitution Amendment One, vote NO to defeat the ALEC idea that is on the Georgia ballot. There's not one thing in the legislation that assures better student performance or parental involvement, despite the deceptive language written by the Governor.
Again, vote NO on Amendment One.
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I understand that the mall is under new ownership and I suppose that incentives are being considered on how to draw quality stores and restaurants back in. The upcoming diverging diamond intersection at I-85 and Pleasant Hill will speed traffic flow. These are all helpful, but will not ultimately restore the Mall significantly and permanently.
But what will really get things moving again? How can stores be enticed to invest in the area without incentives or governmental support? That would be a miracle wouldn't it? Let me take it further; how could these merchants be brought to the point of begging to come back? Now that's intriguing! What is the key ingredient to take advantage of Gwinnett's Mall close-in location?
The key is bringing people in.
Not just to shop there, but to live there! Let's say that 5,000 people could be added around the mall as residents. What do you think that would do to the value merchants place on being there? Only the hope of strong profitability can do that! Signage and lip service won't do it!
You notice something immediately when you drive around the parking lot. It is the significant availability of out-parcels. There is abundant land to build on within walking distance to the mall. It is sitting there waiting on somebody to wake up to the vast potential of what could be done.
Right now, the majority of usage at the mall is retail. Let's say that the available land would be mostly zoned for medium rise residential condos (not high rise with all the zoning sensitivities of the previously proposed towers) with a portion reserved for office space that will surely be needed to follow. And let's further assume that the county government would get on a fast track to prepare for this zoning. Then we will be speaking the condo developer's language of being able to build without huge hassles.
What about infrastructure to handle all the additional traffic and congestion? If a ton of condos are being built, then reasonable impact fees that this great location will support can pay the way for what is needed to keep things moving! One of the great things about mixed use zoning is that people don't have to drive far (or even at all) to get what they need that's immediately around them. We are talking walking distance to the mall.
If leadership in the Gwinnett CID cannot bring the county government and the rest of the business community on board with this, then we'll just see more of the same and an area that will eventually become a taxpayer liability instead of a windfall! "Without a vision, the people perish."
Elisha Winn Fair article stirred memories of long ago
Editor, the Forum:
Your article on the Elisha Winn Fair took me to the Internet to read about a family home of my relatives in Dallas, Millermore, in the Oak Cliff section. As a kid, annual trips were made there to select and cut our Christmas trees, scrappy cedars, and be entertained by our very old Cousin Minnie Miller. The house was moved many years ago to Old City Park by the Dallas Historical Society. Your perspective evoked great memories!
anticipation, the Five Forks branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library
will reopen to the public on October 15. The branch, which began an upgrade
project earlier in the year, will have reconfigured spaces, new interior
finishes and fixtures, an energy efficient HVAC system, and several new
high-tech features. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Tuesday,
October 16, at 4 p.m. with grand reopening celebration for the public
to follow on Saturday, December 1.
Oct. 20 CHUK Run in Norcross benefits cerebral palsy
The City of Norcross, Norcross Police Department and its Foundation, Wells Fargo Advisors and United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia are teaming up to present a special event featuring family fun and celebrating kids of all abilities on Saturday, October 20.
The second annual Norcross Police Department C.H.U.K Run (Cops Helping Unique Kids), presented by Wells Fargo Advisors, will begin with a 5K Run through downtown Norcross at 8 a.m. There is a $20 registration fee, with proceeds supporting United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia services for children and adults with disabilities. Participants can register in advance by mail or online at www.ucpga.org, with a guaranteed t shirt size. Day of event registrations will be accepted with T shirt sizes as available.
Following the 5K Run, beginning at 9 a.m. there will be a one mile Fun Run/Walk and Free Family Festival in Thrasher Park, with a variety of entertainment and activities for kids of all abilities.
For a Sponsor Package, Event Exhibitor Booth or more information about the Norcross Police Department C.H.U.K. Run, or UCP of Georgia programs and services, contact Joan Rizzo at 770-676-2000, ext. 225.
Gwinnett Tech offering annual community plant sale soon
Technical College's Environmental Horticulture program is hosting its
annual community plant sale October 16 - 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in
the campus greenhouse near Building 600.
The GTC greenhouse is located adjacent to Building 600 on the Gwinnett Tech campus, 5150 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville.
of Lilburn has added a part-time code enforcement officer to address resident
concerns on nights and weekends.
in Gwinnett Technical College's (GTC) Surgical Technology program left
the classroom behind to spend a day volunteering at MedShare on October
11, helping pack surgical and other medical supplies for shipment to developing
For 13th year, Outback donates meals to senior services
On Wednesday, Outback Steakhouse in Suwanee donated 370 meals to benefit Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services. Friends Board Member Russell Delong, right, gets ready to deliver Outback meals to neighboring businesses.
This is the 13th year Outback Steakhouse in Suwanee has donated meals to raise funds for Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services the nonprofit organization that financially supplements core programs for Gwinnett County Senior Services. The event has generated almost $115,000 through the years.
From Daphne Roberts, Perry
Salt and pepper to taste (I add some Old Bay or Tony Chachere's seasoning). In a large pot, melt butter over low heat. Blend flour into melted butter. Add onion and sauté until wilted. Add remaining ingredients and cook on medium heat for 40 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent corn from sticking & scorching. Enjoy!!
(Continued from previous edition)
Whereas the 63 plantation-belt counties in the lowlands provided more than 50 percent of the volunteer infantry companies in the Civil War, desertion rates among soldiers hailing from this region were among the lowest in the state. This phenomenon may be partially accounted for by the fact that Confederate social and military authority remained reasonably intact in the lowlands for most of the war, making it perilous for would-be deserters from the area to flee home.
Although Sherman's march to the sea from Atlanta to Savannah was brutal, Union forces advanced rapidly, were largely unopposed, and did not occupy any place along the route long enough for deserters to flee to their lines. Also, because the majority of regiments from central and south Georgia belonged to the Army of Northern Virginia and engaged in battles far from their homes, potential deserters found it much less practical to return home than did those serving in the Army of Tennessee. It was also difficult for the lowland Georgians in the Army of Tennessee to flee home because the Army returned to Tennessee instead of pursuing Sherman through southeast Georgia.
The economic structure of the plantation belt and the widespread use of slave labor also allowed lowland Georgians to remain in the Confederate Army without worries for the safety of their homes and families. Whereas the 1864 Confederate Conscription Act depleted north Georgia of its male population, wealthy plantation owners in the lowlands were able to apply for exemptions. While 3,368 Georgians deserted to Union lines throughout the war, approximately 11,000 affluent Georgia men received exemptions and were able to remain in their communities and maintain social and economic stability. When Union and Confederate armies left the state in early 1865, desertions among Georgia troops persisted but at a greatly reduced rate until the war's end.
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© 2012, Gwinnett Forum.com. Gwinnett Forum is an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
Visit this site to see details of the upcoming funerals of Gwinnett Countians from local funeral homes. On the site, sign up at top right and we'll send you GwinnettObits each day.
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"Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing."
MORE COPIES AVAILABLE
Previously out of print, Elliott Brack's 850-page history, "Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta," is now available again. Since its original publication, the book was declared the winner of the 2010 Award of Excellence for documenting Georgia history by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board. It is also the winner of the Gwinnett Historical Society's Whitworth-Flanigan Award for 2011 for preserving the history of Gwinnett County.The book includes 143 demographic and historic tables, with more than 4,000 names in the index, and 10,000 names in the appendix.Two versions of the book are available. The hardback edition is priced at $75, while a softback edition is $40. Books are available at:
You can also order
books through the Internet. To do that, go to www.elliottbrack.com
to place your order. For mail orders, there is a $5 shipping and handling
fee. Purchases are also subject to the 6 percent Georgia sales tax.
SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM
(NEW) Wink Art Exhibit: Through Nov. 24, Tannery Row Artist Colony in Buford. Show reception is 6 p.m., Oct. 20. Shown will be resident art with a hint of humor, a turn of the phrase or visual twist to make you smile. Details: 678-428-4877, or visit www.TanneryRowArtistColony.com.
(NEW) Photo Exhibit: Through Nov. 28, George Pierce Park Community Room, Suwanee, during Community Center hours, Monday through Saturday. Frank L. Sharp presents "Israel, the Holy Land," while Wendell Tudor features "Images of the Sea," coastline and landscape images, including photographs from Canada.
Terror on the Trail: Friday and Saturday nights, Oct. 12-27, Sims Lake Park in Suwanee. Tours begin at 7:30 p.m., with the last tour at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at www.terroronthetrail.com or by calling the Aurora Theatre Box Office at 678-226-6222. The park's 1.2-mile looping trail will be transformed into a haunting backdrop for zombies and tales of terror.
Girl Scout engineering careers for women: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 13, Alpharetta campus of DeVry University, 2555 Northwinds Parkway. Women in engineering careers will help lead girls in a variety of hands-on science activities about science careers. Lunch will be provided to all registered.
39th annual Lilburn Daze Festival: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 13, Lilburn City Park. Free Admission. Sponsored by GFWC Lilburn's Woman's Club in cooperation with the city.
Corners Art Fest (at Berkeley Lake): 10 a.m., Oct. 13 and Oct.
14. The event will be held at 4650 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard,
Gwinnett Congressional Candidate Forum: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Busbee Center of Gwinnett Technical College. Candidates from the Fourth and Seven Districts have been invited to appear. Hosted by the Gwinnett Leave of Women Voters in coalition with the Organization of Chinese Americans of Georgia and the United Ebony Society of Gwinnett. "Know the issues, join the conversation, make a difference."
Norcross Candidate Forum: 7 p.m., Oct. 18, Norcross Community Center. Candidates for seats on the Norcross City Council are being asked to appear. Sponsored by the Progressive Development Committee of Norcross.
(NEW) Alternate energy options, Sierra Club meeting: 7 p.m., Oct. 18, Berkmar High School. Trey Gibbs of Sterling Planet will talk of the importance of solar, wind and tidal energy to Georgia and the United State. Info: Michael Hallen at 678-200-0455.
(NEW) Creatures of the Night Festival: 6 p.m., Oct. 19, Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. Experience the wonders of nocturnal animals and their amazing adaptations, and meet real, live examples that might inhabit your backyard, including an owl and an opossum! Other activities include a scavenger hunt, crafts and information sessions and green pumpkin carving contest. For info, visit www.gwinnettEHC.org.
Fort Daniel Frontier Faire, at Hog Mountain: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 20, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 21, at 2505 Braselton Highway. The former site of Fort Daniel (circa 1812) is currently located on privately owned property. Faire parking on site is limited to handicapped only and parking for the public is available across the street at Northview Church, corner of Georgia Highways 124-324.
(NEW) Historical Talk at Snellville City Hall: 3 p.m., Oct. 21, Speaking will be Dr. James W. Cofer Jr., principal research engineer with the Georgia Tech Research Institute. He is also the managing editor of the Georgia History Quarterly, and host of Today in Georgia History on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Candidate Forum: 7:30 p.m., Oct. 22, Christ the King Lutheran Church, 5575 Peachtree Parkway, Norcross. Area candidates for Congress, the statehouse and school board have been invited. Judge Warren Davis is the moderator. Sponsored by the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association.
Halloween-for-Haiti Carnival: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Oct. 27, Christ Episcopal Church, 400 Holcomb Bridge Road, Norcross. Music, food, kids' activities throughout the event. Costume parade with prizes at 5 p.m. Haunted trail from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Proceeds benefit the children of Jasmin, Haiti.
Euro in Crisis: 11:30 a.m., Oct. 31, 1818 Club, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway. The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a talk by the Consul General of Germany to Atlanta, Christoph Sander. Sponsored by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Info: 770 232-3000.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
CONTINUING OBJECTIVES FOR GWINNETT
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.
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