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."

Knock knock: 'Doors' exhibit returns

Approximately 30 artist-painted doors are on exhibit at Suwanee's Sims Lake Park throughout October as part of the 2014 Doors to Homes & Hope exhibit. Presented by Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity and ArtWorks! Gwinnett, more than 140 doors will be exhibited through November 1 in locations throughout Gwinnett County, including in Suwanee, Norcross, Duluth, Sugar Hill, and Lawrenceville.

This exhibit, like the inaugural 2013 display, is designed to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness and the universal need for affordable housing.

A number of Suwanee-area artists participated in this year's "painting for a purpose" program, including several with the North Gwinnett Arts Association and students in the North Gwinnett High School National Art Honor Society.

All of the doors may be viewed and purchased at beginning October 4. Each door is $100 and may be picked up at the end of the month-long exhibit. Proceeds will be shared by Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity and Artworks! Gwinnett.

Be part of Suwanee's 'event-ful' scene

Races, festivals, concerts, movies, food trucks, and more – oh my! If your organization would like to be part of the City of Suwanee's eclectic event calendar in 2015, now is the time to submit an application. The City will accept applications for privately sponsored 2015 community events through December 10. Applications should be submitted with the $25 application fee; additional fees will be assessed for approved events.

Once the City's 2015 event calendar is approved in January or February, no additional events will be added. Please note that submission of an application does not guarantee approval. Events will be evaluated based on dates requested, event type, and overall variety.  All events should be free and open to the public.

Each year, Suwanee Town Center hosts more than 40 community events – nearly half of which are planned by private groups and community organizations.

"We're excited to see what kinds of creative event ideas people bring us for next year," says Events Manager Amy Doherty. "We're really looking for something new, different, and fun that not only will bring visitors to our community, but also will be really enjoyable for Suwanee residents."

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.

Trek or Treat

Youngsters, get your mummies (and daddies) to bring you to Suwanee's Trek or Treat event October 25 where you can use your witches' brooms to sweep up prizes and your dancing shoes to do the monster mash with Parker, Suwanee's oversized canine mascot. Suwanee's spook-tacular Trek or Treat event will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, October 25, at Suwanee Creek Park, 1170 Buford Highway.

Activities include festival games, crafts, inflatables, dance competitions, and pictures with Parker. A free hot dog lunch will be available while supplies last.

Trek or Treat is designed especially for children and 10 and younger. Attendees are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes.

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.

Student leadership – beyond the classroom

After meeting with a variety of community leaders, developing their individual leadership philosophies and skills, and logging more than 700 community volunteer hours, more than 50 local high school students have completed the City of Suwanee's inaugural Suwanee Youth Leaders (SYL) program. SYL is designed to build youth leaders in the community and outside the classroom.

"SYL has given me a chance to work deeper within my community on a level I had never experienced before," says Mimi Zhang, a senior at North Gwinnett High School. "I have a better understanding of how complicated and structured our City really is."

Suwanee's SYL program started in January with students meeting on a monthly basis to participate in activities designed to enhance their team-building, communication, and leadership skills. In addition, students attended Leadercast in the spring, helped plan Suwanee's August Food Truck Friday event, and volunteered at Suwanee's August concert and Suwanee Fest.

"We now have a group of young people who have more knowledge of their community and how local government works, and the work that goes into building community," says Economic and Community Development Director Denise Brinson. "The City wanted to develop a real connection with our schools and find a way to meaningfully encourage youth involvement as prescribed in our 20/20 strategic plan."

The Suwanee Youth Leaders program will be offered again next year and will run March-September. The program is open to current sophomores and juniors who attend public, private, and home-based schools in the North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge clusters. Applications will be available on this website beginning in November.

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.

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."

Upcoming Meetings & Events


  • Suwanee Fest 2014 - Twice as nice!
    Suwanee Fest 2014 - Twice as nice!
  • City of Suwanee's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
    City of Suwanee's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
  • Suwanee, Georgia: A Little Edgy
    Suwanee, Georgia: A Little Edgy
  • What's Your Big Idea? Suwanee's 20/20 Vision Strategic Plan
    What's Your Big Idea? Suwanee's 20/20 Vision Strategic Plan
  • Royal Dance Academy Suwanee Day 2013 Performance
    Royal Dance Academy Suwanee Day 2013 Performance
  • Neighborhood Watch (Me Dance)
    Neighborhood Watch (Me Dance)
  • Suwanee Day Timelapse Video
    2012 Suwanee Day Timelapse Video
  • Suwanee Day Flash Mob
    2012 Suwanee Day Flash Mob
  • Who Says...?
    A promotional video about living and working in one of Money Magazine's best places to live.