A post-holiday purpose for those live Christmas trees

When your live Christmas tree is past its fragrant, sparkly prime, give it a new sense of purpose through the City of Suwanee's "treecycling" campaign, which is part of Keep Georgia Beautiful's annual Bring One for the Chipper program.

Area residents may drop off their former live Christmas trees at Sims Lake Park, located at 4600 Suwanee Dam Road, from December 26 through January 31. Decorations, lights, and stands should be removed from all trees, which will be mulched for use in City parks. Last year, mulch from more than 1,200 former Christmas trees was spread in Suwanee parks.

Volunteers will be available to assist with unloading and northern red oak, redbud, and dogwood seedlings will be handed out (while supplies last) from 9 am-4 pm Saturday, January 3.

Adult and teen volunteers are needed to assist January 3. To volunteer, contact Tammy Hiler at thiler@suwanee.com or 770-945-8996.


Photo by Bill Mahan

Artists wanted

Suwanee's approximately one-mile walkable public art encounter, SculpTour has brought 44 different art pieces created by 32 artists to downtown Suwanee over the past four years. In May next year, a new batch of artists will be represented by the sculptures selected for Suwanee's fourth consecutive SculpTour. Proposals from artists will be accepted through January 9.

Artist Gregory Johnson of Cumming, whose work has been displayed in each of the three Suwanee SculpTours and is currently included in about 20 other public art exhibits around the United States and Canada, says he has gotten "tremendous spin-off" from his participation in SculpTour: Johnson sold two sculptures to Salude, a transitional care and short-term rehabilitation facility that recently opened in Suwanee.

Johnson says that he believes Suwanee's public art exhibit is one of the best in the country because of the presentation and accessibility of Town Center Park. "Suwanee has the park, amphitheater, restaurants, and shopping," he says. "It makes it nice. Some places have a City Hall, arts center, library, and park at which they exhibit art, but they're all a mile apart from one another. You end up having to walk 4-5 miles to see it. In Suwanee, you're able to scan the horizon and see several art pieces. It's intimate and well-planned."

Two years ago, the City received approximately 60 SculpTour proposals from artists. Typically, 12-15 pieces are selected by the Public Arts Commission for the nearly two-year exhibit.

Run 13.1 on 1/31

You can be a part of history in 2015: Georgia Fitness and the City of Suwanee are teaming together to host the first-ever Suwanee Gateway Half Marathon on Saturday, January 31.

"If you can run a 10K, you can run a half marathon," says Georgia Fitness Manager Jason Vance. "The more training you do," he adds, "the more confident you'll be."

At the same time, Vance believes that the Suwanee half is scheduled so that it will make a good training run for those preparing for a spring marathon.

The race will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Town Center Park. From there, the Peachtree Road Race-certified, 13.1-mile course will meander through Old Town, along Eva Kennedy to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, to Tench Road and eventually George Pierce Park and the Suwanee Creek Greenway to McGinnis Ferry Road, up and back along Northolt, and back along the Greenway to the finish at City Hall.

Registration is available at active.com. The registration fee is $65 until December 15, when the price increases to $75. Runners will receive a finisher's medal and long-sleeved technical shirt. Race news, including a course map, is available at runsuwanee.com.

Race volunteers are needed as well. Email jasongvance@gmail.com to volunteer.

Snap – and share – Suwanee

Photos offer a great way to communicate – be it a thousand words or just 140 characters. The City of Suwanee's annual Snap! Suwanee photo competition provides a means for participants to capture and share images that communicate something telling about the Suwanee community.

Photo submissions for the 2015 Snap! Suwanee competition are now being accepted through December 31.

Photos submitted to the competition should represent the Suwanee community in some way and ideally be taken within the City of Suwanee limits. Click here for additional guidelines and an entry form.

Winning photographs will be exhibited, beginning in March 2015, for an approximately one-year period at City Hall.

Photographers may also share their entries with via Instagram. Use the hashtag #snapsuwanee15.

Google: Suwanee is 2014 eCity

Google has announced that the City of Suwanee is Georgia's 2014 eCity and one of the country's digital capitals. This designation from the global technology company recognizes Suwanee as having the strongest online business community in the state.

"We're thrilled," says Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette, "and if I could speak in emoticons, I'd add several of those to this statement. More seriously, I'm very proud of our connected, forward-thinking, and engaged community. Like many of our businesses, the City of Suwanee has worked hard to keep pace with electronic technology and the opportunities it presents, maintaining a dynamic website, having a strong social media presence, and, most recently, making our website mobile-friendly.

"We know that e-commerce is a big part of Suwanee's thriving economy and we welcome that, and we'll continue to embrace electronic and other technologies to further strengthen our economy and overall community."

To determine America's digital capitals, Google and IPSOS, an independent research firm, analyzed the online strength of local small businesses in cities across the country. Factors considered included whether small businesses had a website, used a blog, promoted themselves via social networks, sold goods directly  from their website, and had a mobile-friendly website.

"Clearly there is a growing entrepreneurial spirit in Suwanee, which should be embraced," says Brett Williams, Google's director of SMB marketing, Americas. "Businesses in Suwanee are turning to the internet to start and develop their own businesses and we hope Suwanee becomes an inspiration to other areas in the country."

We've got questions; you've got answers

Over the first couple of weeks of November, a random selection of City of Suwanee residents will receive an invitation to participate in the 2014 National Citizen Survey. This marks the fourth time that the City of Suwanee will participate in the survey, which is administered by the National Research Center and International City/County Management Association on behalf of local jurisdictions. The City typically conducts the survey every two years.

Residents' responses, which are anonymous, are tabulated and benchmarked by the National Research Center with more than 500 other local jurisdictions around the country.

Results from the 2012 survey indicated that 99 percent of residents found Suwanee an excellent or good place to live and would recommend living in Suwanee. The City was also ranked #1 by its residents, compared to other participating jurisdictions, in four categories: land use, planning, and zoning; preservation of natural areas; city parks; and availability of affordable quality child care.

The randomly selected 1,200 Suwanee households that will be invited to participate in the 2014 survey may complete and return a hard copy, which they will receive via the postal service, or complete the survey online. Only those households who were randomly selected may participate in the survey. The deadline for completed surveys will be around the middle of December.

Survey results assist the City with community planning, resource allocation, program improvement, goal-setting, and policy-making. Results from the 2014 National Citizen Survey are expected to be available in the early spring.


The Suwanee Town Center Master Plan is one example of community plans effectively implemented by the City of Suwanee.

Suwanee attains 'PlanFirst' designation

The City of Suwanee is in the inaugural class of 10 Georgia communities being recognized for excellence in community planning. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) awarded the PlanFirst designation in recognition that Suwanee not only creates good community plans, it also implements them well.

"Good planning by local communities is the hallmark of economic growth," says DCA Commissioner Gretchen Corbin. "These are communities that can serve as statewide models for others in how to actively and strategically implement a vision for the future."

Thirty communities applied to the PlanFirst program in its inaugural year. Designated communities had to demonstrate a proven record of plan implementation success in areas that included goals, leadership, and community participation.

In addition to Suwanee, these communities are part of the PlanFirst inaugural class: Athens-Clarke County, Braselton, Coweta County, Gainesville, Johnson County, Jones County, Madison, Vienna, and Woodstock.

These 10 communities will receive their award at the Capitol on January 28, and the designation will last for three years beginning January 1. The designation means that these communities can take advantage of various incentives, including public visibility, eligibility for funding, and certain reduced interest loans.

Winning streak

The City of Suwanee has recently received awards or recognition from a variety of state, national, and international organizations.

The City's Connects community newsletter and 2013 annual report have been recognized. The newsletter won two Awards of Excellence in September, in the printed publications-external publications and graphic design-publications categories, from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA). Connects is written by City of Suwanee staff and designed by the Veugeler Design Group in Buford.

Earlier this summer, the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report received Excellence in Financial Reporting recognition and its annual report earned a Popular Annual Financial Reporting award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). The publications are compiled and designed by City of Suwanee staff.

One of the City's annual events, Woofstock, co-sponsored with Star 94 radio, received a Georgia Downtown Conference Award of Excellence in August. The City was recognized in the promotions category with a silver award.

Finally, the City of Suwanee has been recognized for its performance management efforts with a Certificate of Distinction from the International City/County Management Association's (ICMA) Center for Performance Analytics. Suwanee is among 11 jurisdictions nationwide to receive the Certificate of Distinction and one of 49 (and one of two in Georgia; Decatur being the other) recognized overall. More information.


Photos by Karl Lamb

Fore! Disc golf course is open

Suwanee's new disc golf course at Suwanee Creek Park is now open on a first-come basis to area residents. Hole one is located near the Buckeye Pavilion, but golfers may start play from any of the course's 18 holes.

"A disc golf course was one of the suggestions that citizens put forward through the park enhancements survey we did in 2010," says Assistant to the City Manager Jessica Roth. "It fits with the passive nature of Suwanee Creek Park yet offers another reason for folks to come use the park."

The course opened on May 3 with a tournament organized by the Gwinnett Disc Golf Organization. About 80 people played in the tournament. Designed by John David, a member of the Professional Disc Golf Association's Hall of Fame, Suwanee's moderate-level course begins and ends near the Buckeye Pavilion at the top of the Suwanee Creek Greenway trailhead and meanders largely along the soft surface trail. No fee or registration is required to use the course.

Early users of the course seem to be impressed. "Awesome course," said Jennifer Montgomery on the course's Facebook page. "Tight and technical, keeps you honest! And heads up y'all, 15, 16 and 17 are brutal!"

"Great addition to the Gwinnett Disc Golf scene," said Kason Moody. "Lenora is pretty much wide open, Alexander is the perfect mix of open and wooded, Suwanee Creek is a beautiful, wooded, and technical course…. A great course to get better at your accuracy."

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