2014 News Releases

November 3, 2014


The City of Suwanee has questions and it's turning to its residents for the answers. A random selection of 1,200 City of Suwanee households will receive an invitation to participate in the 2014 National Citizen Survey, which measures eight aspects of community livability.

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 (ICMA) on behalf of local jurisdictions. The City typically conducts the survey every two years.

Residents' responses, which are anonymous, are tabulated by the National Research Center and benchmarked with more than 500 other local jurisdictions around the country. The survey measures citizens' satisfaction in eight areas: community engagement, education and enrichment, recreation and wellness, economy, built environment, natural environment, safety, and mobility.

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 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.

Also, based on 2012 results, Suwanee received three ICMA Voice of the People awards last year. These awards are presented to jurisdictions with the highest-rated services according to survey results. Suwanee won for its parks, code enforcement, and overall service quality.

The randomly selected 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.

October 31, 2014


The Suwanee Police Department is offering a free two-hour program designed to assist parents and their new teen drivers. Georgia Teens Ride with PRIDE (Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error) will be offered at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 12, at the Suwanee Police Training Center at 2966 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

The course focuses on driver attitude, knowledge, and behavior. Rather than a technical, hands-on driver training program, PRIDE addresses seat belts, crash dynamics, Georgia's teen driving laws, parental influence, and peer pressure.

The course is free and open to the public, but space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is required by November 5; registration forms are available at suwanee.com. A parent or guardian is required to attend with their teen.

The City of Suwanee Police Department offers PRIDE in cooperation with the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute.

October 16, 2014


Google announced today 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."

Suwanee is a friendly, forward-thinking community of approximately 17,000, located about 30 miles north of Atlanta. The award-winning community is a regional role model for smart-growth and is well-known for its built-from-scratch Town Center, distinctive parks, and public art initiative. Suwanee has been recognized by several national publications (Money, Family Circle, and Kiplinger.com) as one of the country's best places to live and raise families.

October 14, 2014


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.

October 9, 2014


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, which are available at suwanee.com, 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."

October 8, 2014


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 in a press release. "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.

October 1, 2014


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. "With SYL, students work with a whole new level of leaders in our community. I have a better understanding of how complicated and structured our City really is."

Adds July Choi, a junior at North Gwinnett: "I was able to find out who I was as a leader."

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. They had opportunities to interact with a variety of community leaders, including Mayor Jimmy Burnette, Gwinnett Chamber President and CEO Dr. Dan Kaufman, Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant, Suwanee Police Chief Mike Jones, Gwinnett Solicitor General Rosanna Szabo, State Court Chief Judge Pam South, and Rep. Stacey Abrams, among others.

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 wing festival 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, who managed the program along with Downtown and Business Manager Adam Edge. "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 at suwanee.com beginning in November.

September 30, 2014


Broad concept plans for reconstruction of Buford Highway as a context-sensitive, multi-transportation roadway will be shared at an open house on Thursday, October 9. The open house is a drop-in event from 5-7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue.

No formal presentations will be made during the open house, but representatives from the Georgia Department of Transportation, City of Suwanee, and URS, the City's planning consultant on this project, will be on hand. In addition, a court reporter will be available to record citizens' verbal comments about the project.

The City's vision for the future of Buford Highway, from George Pierce Park to McGinnis Ferry Road, calls for the roadway to remain a local road that accommodates multiple modes of transportation and helps connect residents and visitors to a variety of activity centers. The project is expected to include sidewalks, medians, additional turn lanes, bike lanes, landscaping, on-street parking, and a roundabout at Russell Street.

Construction on the project is expected to get underway sometime in 2016 and will require about two years. Funding for the reconstruction is anticipated to come from a variety of sources, including a Livable Centers Initiative grant through the Atlanta Regional Commission.

September 24, 2014


Suwanee's final Food Truck Friday of 2014 will be held at Town Center Park on October 3. Come enjoy the music of the Hilaire Band and grab dinner from one of your favorite food trucks.

Food truck vendors expected to be on site include The Blaxican, Freckled and Blue, The Fry Guys, Hail Caesar, Mighty Meatballs, A Moveable Feast, Nana G's Chicken and Waffles, Tex's Tacos, and WOW!

Food will be served from 5:30-9:30 p.m. with music beginning at 7 p.m. Beer and wine may be purchased from licensed Town Center merchants.

September 15, 2014


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 earlier this month, 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.

3CMA judges in the graphic design category commented: "Lively, engaging, and a big step up from the previous newsletter. Strategic use of color adds personality and interest within budget constraints."

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). This was the third consecutive year that the City's annual report earned such recognition, but it is the first time that the publication received a grade of A from the panel of judges.

The GFOA reports states: "The reviewers commented very favorably that the City has done an outstanding job in producing a visually appealing report…. The front cover is one of the most innovative seen by the reviewers. The formatting is outstanding."

The 2013 annual report was written 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.

"Jurisdictions meeting the qualifications have demonstrated leadership in continuous improvement and community engagement," says Randall Reid, ICMA director of performance initiatives, "and they serve as examples for other governments to follow."

Criteria for the Certificate of Distinction include reporting performance data to the public through budgets and newsletters; use of performance data in strategic planning and operational decision-making; data verification efforts to ensure reliability; staff training; and sharing performance measurement knowledge with other local governments.

September 12, 2014

A glimpse behind the badge

Get a glimpse behind the badge and gain a better understanding of some of the complex situations that Suwanee police officers experience through this fall's Citizens Police Academy. Classes will be held from 6:30-9 p.m. weekly beginning October 7, usually on Tuesdays but sometimes on Mondays depending on the week, at the Suwanee Police Training Center, 2966 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. Classes will end December 9; check the online application at suwanee.com for specific dates.

Registration is free, but notarized applications must be received by Friday, September 26.  Priority is given to City of Suwanee residents or to those who work within the City.

Topics covered include crime scene processing, traffic stops, building searches, crime prevention, and narcotics identification.

The City of Suwanee Police Department offers this nine-week program to help strengthen the bond of friendship and cooperation among citizens and police officers. Through classes, citizens gain a better understanding of the risks and responsibilities of Suwanee police officers.

August 26, 2014


Runners in this year's Suwanee Fest Classic are being encouraged to dress a little, well, differently. Because a portion of all race entry fees will go to Cure Childhood Cancer of Atlanta, runners are being asked to dress in superhero attire to honor those touched by childhood cancer.

This "racy" prelude to Suwanee Fest, Suwanee's two-day community festival, is hosted by Georgia Fitness and takes place Saturday, September 13, at Town Center Park. The event includes a 1K fun run, 5K race, and 10K course. The 5K will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the 10K start slated for 8:30 a.m. The 1K fun run takes off at 8:35 a.m.

Online registration for the Suwanee Fest race is available at active.com. An application may be downloaded at suwaneefest.com, and in-person registration is available at local Georgia Fitness locations. The fee for each race is noted below; the fee increases by $5 after September 1.

1K - $20
5K - $28
10K - $33
5K & 10K combo - $38

Registered runners may pick up race packets at a runners expo from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, September 12, at Suwanee City Hall or beginning at 6 a.m. on race day at Town Center Park. Race-day registration also will be available.

Approximately 70 awards will be presented in various age groups.

For more information about the race, please contact Georgia Fitness at 770-614-6140 or kristi@georgiafitness.com.

August 26, 2014

Suwanee Fest

2014 Suwanee Fest – September 20 & 21

Saturday, September 20

Free shuttle transportation from off-site parking begins ~ 9 am
Parade ~ 10 am
Arts & crafts exhibitors ~ 10 am-7 pm
Inflatable rides, children's activities ~ 10 am-7pm
Free entertainment ~ 11 am-7:30 pm
A1A in concert ~ 6 pm
Free shuttle transportation to off-site parking ends ~ 8 pm

Saturday, September 21

Free shuttle transportation from off-site parking begins ~ noon
Arts & crafts exhibitors ~ noon-5 pm
Inflatable rides, children's activities ~ noon-6:30 pm
Free entertainment ~ 1-6:30 pm
Food vendors remain open until ~ 6:30 pm
Free shuttle transportation to off-site parking ends ~ 7 pm

Suwanee Fest Entertainment

Saturday, September 20
Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, Author 11:20 am
All Stars Performing Arts noon
Reptile Man 12:40 pm
Royal Dance Academy 1:20 pm
15 Minutes of Fame: Times Square Timebomb 2 pm
Stone Mountain Chorus 2:45 pm
Manmade Mountains 3:45 pm
Colby Dee 4:45 pm
A1A, Jimmy Buffet Tribute Band 6 pm
Saturday, September 21
Tiger Martial Arts 1 pm
Suwanee Youth Ballet 1:40 pm
Royal Dance Academy 2:30 pm
Gwinnett School of Rock 3:30 pm
Sugar Hill Christian Academy Choir 4:30 pm
Capitol City Xpress 5:30 pm

Come to Suwanee Fest Saturday, September 20, to shop, eat, bounce, smile, groove, and make memories. Then come back Sunday, September 21, and do it all again! For the very first time, Suwanee's annual community festival is going to be celebrated over two days.

The "Red, White & You"-themed parade will kick off the festival at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 20. Former U.S. Army Capt. and New York Times best-selling author Luis Carlos Montalván and his beloved service dog, Tuesday, will be the parade grand marshals. Presented in cooperation with the Gwinnett County Public Library, Montalván and Tuesday will also appear onstage at Town Center Park following the parade, at 11:20 a.m, for a presentation and "meet the author" event.

More than a dozen performance groups will take the Town Center stage over the course of the two-day festival. Some Suwanee Fest performers have four legs while others will slither and some will "fight" like tigers. Suwanee Fest performers will sing to you, blow bubbles for you, rock you, and read to you.

The headline performer is A1A; this official and original Jimmy Buffet tribute show is about as close as you can get to the real thing without having the fun-loving 68-year-old island music troubadour himself on stage. Catch A1A's free Parrot Head Extravaganza at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Nearly 200 arts & craft exhibitors, food vendors, community organizations, and sponsors will have booths at the festival. We dare you not to find something extraordinary to buy!

Inflatable rides will abound for children and more than 30 food vendors will provide an array of yummy options. Admission to Suwanee Fest is free; there is a charge for inflatable rides.

Find more information about Suwanee Fest, including off-site parking and shuttle information, at suwaneefest.com.

August 25, 2014


Suwanee's next Food Truck Friday is scheduled for September 5 at Town Center Park. Come enjoy the rhythmic music of Classic City Steel, a steel drum performance group, and grab dinner from one of your favorite food trucks.

Food truck vendors expected include Atlanta Burger Truck, Buen Provecho, Chay J's, Happy Belly, Ibiza, King of Pop, Philly Connection, Rey's Cuban, Wow! and Yumbii. Dinner will be served up from 5:30-9:30 p.m. with music starting around 7.

No alcohol may be brought to Town Center Park, but beer and wine may be purchased from licensed Town Center merchants.

August 13, 2014


Movies Under the Stars will present two movies at Town Center Park on Saturday, August 23. The Lego Movie will be shown on a digital board at the Town Center stage beginning at 7 p.m. Shortly after the end of that movie, around 8:45 p.m., Divergent will be shown on the inflatable big screen.

Rated PG, The Lego Movie is a 3D, computer-animated film that is "the story of a nobody who saves everybody." Released earlier this year, the film follows Emmet, a completely ordinary Lego mini-figure who is the key to saving the Lego universe from the evil tyrant Lord Business.

On the Rotten Tomatoes website, ReelViews critic James Berardinelli says: "This is truly a movie that children and their parents can both enjoy for different reasons."

Divergent, one of the year's most action-packed releases, is the story of a teenager who doesn't fit into one of her futuristic society's neatly packaged factions based on virtues. The film stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet. It is rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some sensuality.

Ryan Gilbey with New Statesmen says in a Rotten Tomatoes review: "Science fiction it may be, but the essence of the film is that timeless adolescent conundrum: Who am I?"

Bring chairs, blankets, and snacks to Town Center Park, but no alcohol may be brought to the park. Beer and wine may be purchased from licensed Town Center merchants.

August 8, 2014


The City of Suwanee has proposed a millage rate of 4.93 mills, the same rate used by the City over the past two years. That rate, however, is higher than the calculated rollback rate of 4.70 mills – this is the rate that would be expected to generate the same total revenue as the previous year.

City Council is expected to adopt a fiscal year 2015 millage rate at its August 26 meeting. Because the proposed rate is anticipated to generate a 4.89 percent increase in property tax revenues, due to rising property values, the City of Suwanee will hold three public hearings on this increase.

The millage rate public hearings will be in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall at:

  • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, August 14
  • noon Tuesday, August 26
  • 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 26

The proposed 4.93 millage rate will result in a tax increase of approximately $20.70 for a home with a fair market value of $225,000 and an increase of $50.60 for a nonresidential property with a fair market value of $550,000.

August 1, 2014

Suwanee celebrates 10th anniversary of music & more at Town Center

Alternative rock band Everclear will headline the City of Suwanee's August 16 Concert & Wing Fest. This summer's community concert marks the 10th anniversary of music, movies, festivals, and more at Suwanee's Town Center Park. Sean Mullins headlined Town Center Park's very first concert on August 14, 2004.

Everclear was Billboard's Modern Rock Band of the Year in 1998. Over a decade from 1994-2004, the band had three platinum or double-platinum albums and several hits, including "Father of Mine," "Wonderful," and "Santa Monica."

This summer's community concert is being combined with a wing festival that will feature a variety of the saucy, finger-lickin' fare from area restaurants. The wing festival and musical performances will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Town Center Park with Everclear taking the stage about 8:30.

Hunter Callahan, Nine Times Blue, and The Athens Band will perform before Everclear.

A celebrity wing-eating contest will be part of the evening's activities. Attendees also will be invited to vote for their favorite wings from among the vendors at the festival.

Bring blankets, chairs, and picnics, but no alcohol may be brought into Town Center Park. Beer and wine will be available for purchase from concert vendors and licensed Town Center merchants.

Limited parking is available in the downtown area. A free shuttle bus will provide transportation between Town Center and the offsite parking location at Shawnee North Business Center, 305 Shawnee North Drive at Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. The shuttles will run from 5:30-10:30 p.m.

July 24, 2014


After a break in July, food trucks will roll back into Town Center Park Friday, August 1. The trucks will serve up dinner from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

The tentative food truck line-up includes Freckled and Blue, King of Pops, Mac the Cheese, MG's Burger Que, Nana G's Chicken and Waffles, On Tapa the World, Pressed for Time, Smiley's Street Eats, Tex's Tacos, and Tracey's Tasties.

Students in the Suwanee Youth Leaders program are responsible for planning activities and entertainment at the August Food Truck Friday event. They've booked Rupert's Orchestra, a popular and upbeat local party band, to perform beginning at 6:30 p.m. With an eclectic repertoire of more than 1,500 songs, Rupert's performs everything from current top 40 hits to Motown to classic rock to swing.

As part of their agreement with the band, the students are planning fundraising activities for that evening – such as carnival games, a 50/50 raffle, and collecting donations – for a charity with which Rupert's Orchestra works closely, Better Health for Haiti. This organization uses songs and videos to help provide health education to Haitian people.

July 14, 2014

Broadway in the Park
'Cinderella' brings the ball to Suwanee

Shake the cobwebs off those magic wands and dust off your glass slippers for Suwanee Performing Arts' 2014 Broadway in the Park production. A cast of 70 young local performers and 30 backstage volunteers will bring Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella as well as an original one-act play, Spellbound – the Musical, to the Town Center stage July 25 and 26.

"Cinderella is a timeless story," says Broadway in the Park director Patty Etherton. "It offers the best story and the best music and it's so well put together." The Suwanee production is based on the 1997 Whitney Houston version, which, she says, is more condensed and funnier than the original 1957 musical starring Julie Andrews.

A classic fairy tale set to music, Cinderella is the story of a young woman forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters; she dreams of a better life and a chance to attend the prince's ball. With the assistance of her fairy godmother, Cinderella's dreams come true.

Spellbound – the Musical, an original play created by Suwanee Performing Arts founders Etherton and Bernetta Bock Davis, provides the back story for Cinderella's magical godmother. The one-act play takes place at The Academy of Magical Arts, where a young Annabel is convinced that she is a failure because all of her spells turn to glass and don't last through the night.

Broadway in the Park performances will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26. Admission is free, but reserved premium seating is available for corporate and patron sponsors. Contact Suwanee Performing Arts at 678/482-6333 for more information about reserved seating. In addition, lawn seating in front of the stage is available on a first-come basis for $10 and is designed especially for young children. These tickets will be available at Town Center Park beginning at 4 p.m. on performance days. Magic wands and tiaras also will be available for purchase.

"This is a great opportunity to expose the entire community to quality performance art," says Etherton. "The kids who audition never cease to amaze us with how talented they are. And the costuming and staging are top-notch, too. We're proud to produce each year the kind of high- quality show that our audience wants to see."

For more information about tickets for Broadway in the Park and related activities, visit suwaneeperformingarts.org.

July 3, 2014


The City of Suwanee is celebrating a very special 10-year-old's birthday on Saturday, July 19. This summer marks a decade since 1,200 Suwanee mommies, daddies, grandparents, business owners, football players, and other volunteers came together to build a super playground on Main Street over the course of five days. That playground, PlayTown Suwanee, continues to have an enchanting impact on Suwanee's youngest residents today.

The community will celebrate PlayTown Suwanee's 10th birthday in a fashion befitting any 10-year-old – with balloons, a DJ, clown, face painting, and, of course, birthday cake. Young residents also will be invited to create a hand-painted tile – very similar to those created 10 years ago for the playground. These new tiles will fill in available spaces among the tiles that still exist from 10 years ago. The party will take place from 10 a.m.-noon at the playground.

Angie O'Farrell, who served as the playground's volunteer committee chair a decade ago, says:  "PlayTown Suwanee has been such a treasured place for my family and me over the years. We still take out-of-town guests there and talk about the incredible experience of building a park in five days. During that week I met some of my dearest friends in Suwanee and developed a sense of pride for our community that has carried over into so many other local volunteer activities."

In addition to the 1,200 volunteers, here are some other "ingredients" used in 2004 to build PlayTown Suwanee:

  • 1,950 pieces of lumber
  • 881 Trex pieces
  • 14 tons of sand
  • 94 gallons of sealer
  • 642 pounds of nails
  • 56,788 screws
  • 55 drills
  • 111 various saws and saw blades

June 24, 2014


Suwanee City Council approved this evening a $13.6 million fiscal year 2015 Citywide operating budget. The FY15 balanced budget anticipates that revenues will be down slightly by almost 2 percent, Suwanee's millage rate will remain 4.93 mills, and no resources from the City's fund balance will be required. Suwanee's fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30.

The general fund is the City's main operating fund and is proposed to total $11.2 million, with Suwanee's debt payment accounting for another $1.6 million in expenses. Operating expenditures for the general fund are anticipated to increase by about 5 percent.

Suwanee's FY15 budget funds downtown and public art master plans, a new public works equipment operator position, 10.5 percent increase in health insurance expenses, and a merit salary increase for employees, up to 4 percent depending upon performance.

"Overall," says City Manager Marty Allen, "our 2015 budget conveys our community's financial stability. Revenues are anticipated to be similar to 2014's with a small increase in expenses. When Standard & Poor's upgraded our bond rating to AAA earlier this year, they told us that some of what they liked about Suwanee was our financial stability, conservative fiscal policies, and healthy fund balance."

Council also approved this evening a $31.4 million Capital Improvements Program (CIP) for 2015-19 and a $1.7 million fourth-quarter transfer from the 2014 general fund to the CIP. The CIP is used to fund the City's long-term capital projects that include Buford Highway corridor improvements and other transportation projects, parks and facilities enhancements, and new/replacement vehicles and equipment.

May 29, 2014


The City of Suwanee will offer an event doubleheader the first weekend in June. On Friday, June 6, food trucks will roll into Town Center Park, and on Saturday, June 7, the second installment in the Hunger Games series will be screened.

The tentative June Food Truck Friday line-up includes: The Blaxican, Down the Bayou, Happy Belly, King of Pops, Mighty Meatballs, Moveable Feast, On Tapa the World, Pressed for Time, Wow!, and Yumbii. Dinner will be served from 5:30-9:30 p.m.; The Fly Betty Band will perform beginning at 7.

Movies Under the Stars comes to Town Center Park the following evening with a screening of Hunger Games: Catching Fire, in which victors Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are thrust back into the Hunger Games – and into the midst of the growing rebellion.

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catching Fire is rated PG-13, due to, according the IMDb website, "intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation, and language." Festivities for Catching Fire will start at 7 p.m. with the movie beginning around 8:30 p.m. or as soon as it is dark enough. Bring chairs, blankets, and snacks to Town Center Park, but no alcohol.

May 19, 2014


The Atlanta Braves may be playing in Miami on May 31, but there will be a home game atmosphere when the match-up with the Marlins is broadcast live on the really big screen at Suwanee's Town Center Park. First pitch for this Game on the Green is at 4:10 p.m., but festivities will begin at 3.

The Braves' Heavy Hitters drumline team and Tomahawk Team will be on hand as will the team mascot, Homer. Inflatables and other activities will be available.

Bring blankets, chairs, snacks, and your foam tomahawks, but no alcohol may be brought into the park. Food and beverages, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase from Game on the Green vendors and Town Center merchants.

Admission is free. Come root, root, root for the hometeam!

May 13, 2014


The City of Suwanee will host a Memorial Day weekend concert that will feature patriotic and big band sounds on Friday, May 23. The Continental Dance Orchestra, which includes some of the South's most accomplished musicians and bandleader/singer Gwen Hughes, will take the Town Center stage at 7:30 p.m.

Before the concert, weather permitting, members of the Silver Wings, the Command Exhibition Parachute Team of the U.S. Army Infantry based at Fort Benning, will "drop in" at Town Center. The parachute team is expected to land at the park shortly after 7 p.m.

"We're excited to have the Silver Wings team back in Suwanee," says Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Everyone, but especially the kids, get a real thrill seeing them soar and then land in the middle of the park with the American flag trailing behind one of them. It's a good reminder of the skills our soldiers must develop and the challenges our troops face every day."

Bring blankets, chairs, and picnics, but no alcohol may be brought into Town Center Park.  Parking is available at Town Center and along Main Street.

May 6, 2014


Arts in the Park Entertainment Schedule
11 am DJ: Sounds of the 70s
11:30 am Sarah Ling, Fiddle Performance
Noon Hank Bird, Country Music
12:30-2:30 pm The Imperial OPA (Performance & Mingle)
1:30 pm Crying Wolf Bluegrass Duo
2:15 pm DJ: Sounds of the 70s
2:30 pm Susan Chambers Dance Company
3:15 pm DJ: Sounds of the 70s
4:30 pm Crying Wolf Bluegrass Duo
5 pm Awards Presentation
5:30 pm DJ: Sounds of the 70s

This is one groovy arts festival, man! Arts in the Park returns to Town Center Park for the fourth year on Saturday, May 17, with a retro theme of Peace, Love & Arts in the Park. The park will be filled from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. with more than 75 exhibiting artists, tie-dyed t-shirts, look-alike performers from the 1970s, and a happy, energetic vibe.

Presented by the North Gwinnett Arts Association (NGAA) and sponsored by Nalley Automotive, Arts in the Park celebrates art in all its wonderful forms. Exhibiting artists' works, all of which have been juried, include jewelry, painting, pottery, woodworking, glass, photography, iron, multimedia, and more. Many artists will demonstrate their work onsite as well.

"I love all the creativity in the air," says NGAA President Vickie Johnson of the annual festival. "It's exciting for me to see how young people really get into this. There's just such an energy. It's really an extension of Suwanee's play, live, and smile. It's the creative side of Suwanee."

In addition to artists and their artwork, the festival will offer performance art. The Imperial OPA group, who offered such energetic performances at the festival two years ago, will return with colorful high-wire and human pyramid stunts. Others will perform music from the 1970s in a variety of genres, including country and bluegrass. A DJ will be on hand as will strolling performers and impersonators.

Once again this year, the festival will host a chalk walk competition for children and adults. The $10/person registration is available at suwaneeartsinthepark.com or at the festival. Area businesses also may sponsor a chalk re-creation of their logo for $50.

The Suwanee Public Arts Commission is sponsoring a sidewalk painting by Florida street artist Michael V. LasCasas, to be unveiled between the Town Center stage and Buford Highway during the festival. This artwork, says NGAA member Chris DeJaegher, is to be "an ethereal, very colorful, 70s-ish type drawing" that will incorporate the bubbles of Suwanee's new logo and appear to be 3D when viewed through a camera lens. The acrylic sidewalk painting is designed to last about one year.

For additional information, visit suwaneeartsinthepark.com.

April 30, 2014


B at the Movies with B98.5 and the City of Suwanee when Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney star in Saving Mr. Banks, to be shown at Town Center Park on Saturday, May 10. This PG-13 film tells the story of Disney's 20-year quest to bring Mary Poppins, Travers' magical nanny, to the big screen.

"Forget super," says US Weekly critic Mara Reinstein on the Rotten Tomatoes website. "This bighearted and intelligent drama is supercalifragili…you get the idea."

The movie will start at dusk, around 8:30 p.m. Activities begin at Town Center Park at 7 p.m.

April 29, 2014


The City of Suwanee will open its new 18-hole disc golf course at Suwanee Creek Park this weekend with a grand opening tournament organized by the Gwinnett Disc Golf Organization, who will also host free how-to-play clinics.

The tournament is open to players of all levels and begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 3. Pre-registration is suggested at www.gwinnettcountyopen.com/cart. The registration fee varies depending upon division entered.  Spectators are welcome.

On Sunday, May 4, Gwinnett Disc Golf Organization members will hold free clinics for those who want to learn the basics about disc golf. The clinics will begin at 1:30 p.m. behind the Alder Pavilion at Suwanee Creek Park, 1170 Buford Highway.

Suwanee's is the third disc course in Gwinnett County and the first to be installed by a city.

"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."

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 trailhead and meanders largely along the soft surface trail.

"Our course is very wooded," says Roth. "Trees and some water hazards along Suwanee Creek make it challenging, but fun and scenic also."

After Saturday, the disc golf course will be open to the public. No fee or registration is required.

April 23, 2014


The City of Suwanee's next Food Truck Friday event will be on Friday, May 2. Food truck fare will be served up from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at Town Center Park.

Several area high school bands will perform on the Town Center stage as they present a Night of Jazz beginning at 6 p.m. The high schools performing include Collins Hill, Flowery Branch, North Gwinnett, and Peachtree Ridge.

The tentative food truck line-up: Atlanta Burger, Chay J's, Freckled & Blue, King of Pops, Nana G's Chicken and Waffles, Pressed for Time, Rey's Cuban Food, Sweet Auburn Barbecue, and Texas Tacos.  Please note that this line-up is subject to change.

No alcohol may be brought to Town Center Park, but beer and wine may be purchased from licensed Town Center restaurants.

April 23, 2014


The dogwoods have bloomed. The azaleas have peaked.  And any day now, art pieces will be blooming along the Suwanee Creek Greenway and at community parks as the City of Suwanee celebrates its annual finders-keepers Art on a Limb program.

Through Art on a Limb, the City of Suwanee hides two pieces of art along the Suwanee Creek Greenway or at Sims Lake and White Street parks each day throughout the month of May. Those who find the art pieces get to keep them!

For this year's program, which begins May 1, potter and former music teacher Richard Shivers has created 8-inch, green, ceramic frog bowls. The bowls, decorated with leafy tree branches and one of the phrases from Suwanee's "Live Well. Play Hard. Smile More!" slogan, are meant to be placed in a garden or landscaped areas around the yard. On the backside of the bowls, Shivers has etched leaves or a wood grain pattern.

"I've set the bowls out in my yard in garden areas," says Shivers. "They gather a little bit of water and then I find frogs or butterflies in them."

Shivers decided to submit the bowls for consideration for this year's Art on a Limb program both for the challenge of doing something new and to support the community. "I appreciate so much the fact that the City of Suwanee is a promoter of the arts in the community," he says. "Art is part of so much of what Suwanee does. As an artist and musician, I appreciate that. To have art in front of people all the time – that's a wonderful thing."

April 22, 2014

Woofstock Schedule of Events

12:30 pm Frisbee Toss & Fetch Demo & Clinic
Frisbee Freestyle Demo
1 pm Air Dogs Dock Diving Show
1:30 pm Protection & Obedience Demo & Workshop
2 pm Smallest Dog Contest
2:30 pm Agility & High Jump Demo
3 pm Air Dogs Dock Diving Show
The Lance Price Band
3:45 pm Frisbee Toss & Fetch Demo
Frisbee Freestyle Demo
Biggest Dog Contest
4:15 pm A Great Big World
5 pm Air Dogs Dock Diving Show
5:30 pm Pet/Owner Look-a-Like Contest
6 pm Air Dogs Dock Diving Exhibition
6:15 pm The Dave Mathews Tribute Band


Chicken-flavored chews, summer do's, dock diving techniques, and the latest in canine fashion are likely to be among the hot topics at Star 94's Woofstock event on Saturday, May 3. The tail-wagging fun gets started at noon at Suwanee's Town Center Park.

Star 94's annual Pet Party in the Park caters to furry, four-legged family members and their two-legged companions. This year's event will feature Frisbee and dock diving shows, pet vendors, rescue groups, pet adoptions, clinics and workshops, live music, food trucks, inflatables for children, contests, and fun for the whole family.

The musical headliner is A Great Big World, whose set is sure to include its #1 smash "Say Something" (minus the accompaniment of Christina Aguilera).  A New York-based pop singer-and-songwriter duo, A Great Big World will take the Town Center stage at 4:15 p.m. Also performing are The Lance Price Band at 3 p.m. and The Dave Mathews Tribute Band at 6:15 p.m.

Four-legged party-goers must be on a leash. No alcohol may be brought into Town Center Park, but food and beverages, including beer and wine, may be purchased from event vendors and Town Center merchants.

April 21, 2014


Fresh produce, spicy salsas, sweet honey, and colorful flowers return to Suwanee Town Center when the Suwanee Farmers Market opens for the 2014 season on Saturday, May 3. The farmers market will be open from 8 am-noon Saturdays through October 4 and 4-7 pm Tuesdays through August 5.

In addition to produce, herbs, and flowers, other items available at the market include jams, jellies, cakes, cookies, breads, pies, and honey as well as eggs, plants, and meat, dairy, and organic products.

"We're excited and amazed that the Suwanee Farmers Market is already in its 10th season," says Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "We've been fortunate to have a loyal group of farmers and other vendors as well as a lot of regular customers. The market has really become not only a great place to find fresh, delicious items, but also a place for old friends to gather."

April 16, 2014


The City of Suwanee and ArtWorks! Gwinnett are hosting a public art forum, entitled "Development Drivers: Public Art & Placemaking," for government officials, business leaders, and developers on Thursday, May 1. The session begins in Council Chambers on the second floor of Suwanee City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue, with a continental breakfast and networking at 7:30 a.m. with the presentation starting at 8.

The seminar is free and open to the public, but registration is required by April 29. Those interested may register at artworksgwinnett.org/?p=4416.

Seminar speakers are Bruce Green, tourism product development manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and Heather Alhadeff, president of Center Forward, an Atlanta-based land use and transportation consulting firm.

The City of Suwanee is committed to embracing public art as a means to enhance its citizens' quality of life and the community's sense of identity. Artworks! Gwinnett promotes arts throughout Gwinnett County.

April 14, 2014


The Ultimate Eagles Tribute Band On the Border will put the exclamation point on Suwanee's Super Incredible Day Saturday, April 19, when they take the Town Center stage as Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and other members of one of the 1970s' biggest rock bands. On the Border reproduces the Eagles' song catalog with stunning guitar work and spot-on vocals.

The free concert will begin at 7 p.m., shortly after the conclusion of Suwanee's Super Incredible Race, a team-based challenge that begins at Town Center Park at 3 p.m. (The deadline for required pre-registration for the race has passed.)

Come enjoy the best of the Eagles, including "Life in the Fast Lane," "Heartache Tonight," and "Take It Easy," to name just a few. Bring blankets, chairs, friends, and neighbors, but no alcohol may be brought into the park. Food and beverages, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase from concert vendors as well as Town Center merchants.

April 1, 2014


After 30 years, Suwanee's annual celebration of community is becoming a two-day festival. Suwanee Day is being rebranded as Suwanee Fest and will be celebrated Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21, at Town Center Park.

"For many years, we prided ourselves on the fact that Suwanee Day was one of the best and most well-attended one-day festivals around," says Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Our popularity has caught up with us, and now we look forward to making Suwanee Fest even bigger, and especially better."

Applications for Suwanee Fest are now being accepted from fine arts and arts and crafts exhibitors, who will be selected through a jury process, as well as food vendors and entertainment acts. Guidelines and applications are available at suwaneefest.com. The deadline is June 1.

March 28, 2014

'Retrieval' to close 2013-14 indie film series

The final film in Suwanee's 2013-14 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is enjoying some buzz as it has been commercially released nationally. A Civil War-era coming-of-age story, The Retrieval will be shown in Suwanee Tuesday, April 8, at Movie Tavern.

The film follows a fatherless 13-year-old boy who is sent north by his bounty-hunter gang to trick a wanted freedman into coming back to the South. During their journey toward the unwitting man's reckoning, the initially distant pair develops unexpected bonds. The boy is consumed by conflicting emotions and a gut-wrenching decision: Betray the father-figure he's finally found or risk being killed by his gang for insubordination.

For his Retrieval portrayal of Nate, a freedman gravedigger for the Union Army, actor Tishuan Scott was recognized at the 2013 SXSW (South By Southwest) festival with Special Jury Recognition for Acting in a breakthrough performance.

Writing for Variety, Joe Leydon describes the film "as an outstanding example of regional indie filmmaking accomplished with limited resources and an abundance of skill."

Filmmaker Chris Eska studied sociology and art at Rice University before earning his master of fine arts degree in film directing from UCLA. His first feature film, August Evening, won the $50,000 Target Filmmaker Award as well as the 2008 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award.

Tickets are $6 and available at the theater or online at movietavern.com.  Attendees will have an opportunity to interact and ask questions of the filmmaker.

March 25, 2014


Food trucks are set to roll back in to Suwanee's Town Center beginning in April. On the first Friday of the month through October, except for July, a variety of vendors will offer food truck fare from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Live music will be performed on the Town Center stage beginning at 7:30.

On Friday, April 4, the tentative food truck line-up includes Champion Cheesesteak, The Fry Guy, Happy Belly, Ibiza, Mac the Cheese, Sweet Auburn's BBQ, Tracey's Treats, and Yumbii.  Different food trucks will be represented each month.

Bluegrass musicians from Everett's Music Barn, which is celebrating its 50th year, will perform April 4.

"Food Truck Fridays were among our most popular events last year," says Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Good food, good music, good fun – what's not to like? Food trucks offer an eclectic fare, and our line-up offers a variety sure to please even the pickiest palates."

March 20, 2014


Don't miss out on the super incredible fun when Suwanee hosts a high-energy, clue-sleuthing team race on Saturday, April 19. The deadline for teams to register online at suwanee.com is April 4.

Suwanee's Super Incredible Race is sort of like the Amazing Race meets small-town America. Teams race through downtown Suwanee, either by foot or on bike, solving clues and mastering mental and physical challenges. The race begins at Town Center Park at 3 p.m.  Participants should expect that they will walk (or run) or bike up to five miles; the race course will require one to three hours to complete.

The registration fee is $25 per two-person team plus $10 per additional participant for family teams. Download application forms at suwanee.com. All registrants will receive a 2014 Super Incredible Race dri-fit t-shirt.

Here's what you need to do to ensure a super incredible fun experience:

  • Recruit a team member for the two-person category or sign up your spouse, children, siblings, or grandparents for a family team.
  • Come up with a creative name for your team.
  • Think about what costumes you can wear to match your team theme/name.
  • Plan to bring a camera, smart phone or other means of Internet access, and one canned good per team member.

Prizes will be awarded to winning teams in pedestrian and bike categories as well as for best costume. No cars or other motorized vehicles are permitted.

Following the race, the City will host an incredibly fun spring concert at 7 p.m. with The Ultimate Eagles Tribute Band On the Border headlining. The concert is free and open to the public.

March 19, 2014


Arts in the Park will return to Town Center Park for the fourth year on Saturday, May 17, with a retro theme of Peace, Love & Arts in the Park. Presented by the North Gwinnett Arts Association (NGAA) and sponsored by Nalley Automotive, Arts in the Park celebrates art in all its wonderful forms.

Artists who wish to exhibit – and perhaps demonstrate – their work at the juried May 17 festival are invited to apply for booth space at suwaneeartsinthepark.com.  Artwork to be exhibited will include jewelry, painting, pottery, woodworking, glass, photography, iron, multimedia, and more. Applications are due April 30; the application fee is $75. Cash prizes will be awarded to best of show exhibitors in a variety of categories.

"I love all the creativity in the air," says NGAA President Vickie Johnson of the annual festival. "It's exciting for me to see how young people really get into this. There's just such an energy. It's really an extension of Suwanee's play, live, and smile. It's the creative side of Suwanee."

March 17, 2014


Standard & Poor's (S&P), one of the big three among financial rating agencies, has upgraded the City of Suwanee's rating for its general obligation bond debt to AAA, the highest rating available.

After completing a review of the City's rating, which had been AA, S&P upgraded the City to AAA with a stable outlook based on the City's continued economic expansion. "We consider the City's economy to be very strong," S&P says in its report. "The stable outlook reflects our anticipation that the City will maintain its very strong liquidity and budgetary flexibility."

Suwanee is one of only four Georgia cities to have earned a AAA rating from S&P. The others are Roswell, Peachtree City, and Smyrna, which also was just upgraded. Alpharetta has a AAA rating from Moody's.

"This is like going to the doctor and getting a really clean bill of health," says Mayor Jimmy Burnette. "We are confident that Suwanee is fiscally strong with sound financial policies and practices, but sometimes people don't believe you unless someone else says it's so. We're extremely proud that S&P has independently found Suwanee to be extremely fiscally fit."

"This is great," says Suwanee resident Leo Lawrenson, who is a financial consultant to city and county governments across the country (but not to any in Georgia) through his Lawrenson Services firm. "A AAA rating says that the government entity's dependability for making payments on debt is high, that its revenues-to-debt ratio is good, that it's not in too much debt, and that the debt is being managed properly.

"People think that such ratings are simply an economic indicator," he adds. "It's more than that, it's a big part of quality of life in a city. How sound a city's fiscal policy is affects everything. It's an indication of how well-run the city is."

The City of Suwanee initially obtained a general obligation rating in 2002 when it issued bonds to fund its award-winning open space initiative, which resulted in the acquisition of more than 300 acres of greenspace and the creation of six parks. The City's initial rating was a AA- from both S&P and Fitch Ratings. Since then, the ratings from each agency have been periodically recalibrated and upgraded. The City currently has a AA+ rating from Fitch.

March 11, 2014


Suwanee's new 9-11 memorial, other public art, parks, and events are featured in the 2014 Snap Suwanee photo exhibit, currently on display at Suwanee City Hall. Thirteen photographs by 10 different photographers were selected to be part of the 2014 exhibit, which will remain on display at least through the remainder of the year.

Each year the City of Suwanee hosts a community photo competition. This year, 76 Snap Suwanee entries were received from 23 photographers. The winning photos are displayed in the first floor foyer area at City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue. The exhibit may be viewed 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For the first time this year, some of the winning photographs were submitted via Instagram.

"They say that a picture's worth a thousand words," says Public Information Officer Lynne DeWilde. "Each of the Snap Suwanee winning photos tells a story about the Suwanee community. We're excited to share the colorful, contemplative vision portrayed in the 2014 exhibit."

Winning photos and photographers include:

'Cowboy Dancers '
Alan Akins

'Around the Bend'
Kyle Breen

'Pump Up Suwanee'
Kyle Breen

'Sayonara Summer'
Autumn Crowley

'Millenials are the Image Nation'
Andrew Draper

Andrew Draper

'I've Got My Eyes on You'
Carla Hoff

Boo Kirsch Hynes

'Colorful Cultural Sounds'
Karl Lamb

'Quiet Time'
Karl Lamb

'Iron Angel'
Jammie Partee

'Monkey in the Middle'
Laura Shinliver

Terry Vegter

March 7, 2014


It's fitting that in March, which is National Kidney month, the next film in Suwanee's Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers features a kidney donor and recipient. Perfect Strangers, which explores what motivates donors to act with such compassion, will be screened at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, at the Suwanee Movie Tavern, 2855 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

The $6 admission ticket also allows filmgoers to meet and interact with the filmmaker.

Perfect Strangers tells the story of two unique, engaging characters: Ellie is determined to give away one of her kidneys. Kathy, who lives 500 miles away, endures nightly dialysis and is losing hope of receiving a transplant. Both women face unexpected challenges as their parallel stories twist and turn over the course of four years.

Filmmaker Jan Krawitz has independently produced documentary films for 35 years, exhibiting at film festivals and museums throughout the United States and abroad. She is director of the graduate program in documentary film and video in the department of art and art history at Stanford University.

Tickets are available at the theater or online at movietavern.com.

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is funded, in part, by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

February 25, 2014


On your mark, get ready, get set for some super incredible fun! The City of Suwanee will rev up its event season on Saturday, April 19, with a Super Incredible Day.

The really, really fun day will begin at 3 p.m. with Suwanee's Super Incredible Race, a high-energy, clue-sleuthing, team race featuring mental and physical challenges. Think Amazing Race meets small-town America. Following the race, the City will host an incredibly fun spring concert at 7 p.m. with Eagles tribute band On the Border headlining. The concert is free and open to the public.

Pre-registration for the race is required by April 4; sign up at suwanee.com. The registration fee is $25 per two-person team plus $10 per additional participant for family teams. All registrants will receive a 2014 Super Incredible Race dri-fit t-shirt.

The Super Incredible Race tasks team members with solving about a dozen clues that require them to race to locations throughout downtown Suwanee where they will complete a variety of challenges.

"It's a great way to exercise your mind and body while discovering places you never knew existed right in your own backyard," wrote two-time participant Donna Whalen in an email to the City after last year's race.

In addition to signing up by April 4 at suwanee.com, here's what you need to do to get in on the fun:

  • Recruit a team member for the two-person category or sign up your spouse, children, siblings, or grandparents for a family team.
  • Come up with a creative name for your team.
  • Think about what costumes you can wear to match your team theme/name.
  • Plan to bring a camera, smart phone or other means of Internet access, and one canned good per team member.

Prizes will be awarded to winning teams in pedestrian and bike categories as well as for best costume. No cars or other motorized vehicles are permitted. Participants should expect that they will walk (or run) or bike up to five miles. Completion of the race course is expected to take one to three hours.

February 11, 2014


Due to the likelihood of inclement weather, Suwanee City Hall and Suwanee Municipal Court will be closed tomorrow, February 12. Normal operations will continue through the remainder of today, and the City plans to re-open Thursday, February 13.

Municipal court cases scheduled for tomorrow will be continued (rescheduled) to Monday, February 24. The court will contact defendants via postal mail to reschedule. However, defendants whose address is incorrect on their citations, should email the court at court@suwanee.com to provide an accurate address and ensure that they receive the continuance notification.

For additional questions, please contact the court during regular business hours at 770-945-6962, select option #6.

February 10, 2014


Suwanee's 2013-14 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers returns over the next couple of months with three new screenings. Civil disobedience, the altruism behind voluntary organ donation, and a gut-wrenching decision are topics covered in the upcoming films, each of which will be screened at 7 p.m. on scheduled dates at Movie Tavern. The $6 ticket includes an opportunity to meet and interact with filmmakers.

Bidder 70, a film that looks at Tim DeChristopher's act of civil disobedience, will kick off the 2014 screenings on Monday, February 24. In 2008, DeChristopher, then a college student, bid $1.8 million for 22,000 acres surrounding Utah's national parks through a government oil and gas lease auction.  In protest of plans to drill on the land, DeChristopher had no intention of covering his bid.

A couple of months later, a new federal administration invalidated the auction because of the land's proximity to "landscapes of national significance," but DeChristopher still was indicted on two felonies and faced up to 10 years in prison.

Bidder 70 filmmakers George and Beth Gage create compelling, personal films that empower viewers, initiate dialogue, and prompt action on provocative issues. Their films have won dozens of awards at national and international film festivals.

Film tickets are $6 each and are available at Movie Tavern, 2855 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, or online at movietavern.com.

The two remaining films to be shown this spring are Perfect Strangers on March 18 and The Retrieval on April 8.

February 6, 2014


The season of fresh crops and locally produced honey, jams, salsas, baked goods, and more is nearing. And one of the best places to access all that good stuff is the Suwanee Farmers Market, which will return to Town Center on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings beginning in May.

Applications from those interested in selling their produce or other products at the market are now being accepted. The deadline for applications is Monday, March 24, and new vendors must attend the annual market meeting at 7 p.m. that evening at City Hall. Applications are available at suwanee.com.

In addition to produce, herbs, and flowers, other items that may be sold at the market include jams, jellies, cakes, cookies, breads, pies, and honey as well as appropriately licensed meat, dairy, and organic products; eggs; and plants. No re-selling is permitted; products sold at the Suwanee Farmers Market must be grown or made by the vendor. Arts and crafts are not permitted at the market.

"We're excited and amazed that the Suwanee Farmers Market is already in its 10th season," says Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "We've been fortunate to have a loyal group of farmers and other vendors as well as a lot of regular customers. The market has really become not only a great place to find fresh, delicious items but also a place for old friends to gather."

The 2014 Suwanee Farmers Market opens Saturday, May 3. Saturday markets are from    8 a.m.-noon through October 4. Tuesday markets are from 4-7 p.m. through August 5.

February 4, 2014


Did you promise yourself to try something new, something different in 2014? Here's a great opportunity to do just that. The next session of Suwanee's Citizens Police Academy begins February 18. The once-weekly classes, often hands-on or scenario-based, will conclude April 15.

Through the Citizens Police Academy, participants gain a better understanding of police practices as well as the risks and responsibilities that officers face on a daily basis. Classes will generally be held from 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesday evenings at the Police Training Center at 2966 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

Notarized applications are due Wednesday, February 12. Applicants must be at least 19 years old; those who live or work in the City of Suwanee receive priority placement. Applications are available at suwanee.com.

Topics covered include crime scene processing, traffic stops, building searches, crime prevention, credit card fraud, and narcotics identification.

The Suwanee Police Department hosts the academy at least once each year in order to build a productive partnership between officers and residents. This class will be the 25th offered since the program was begun in 2002.

January 30, 2014


Suwanee Municipal Court cases that were canceled January 29 due to the region's winter storm emergency have been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, February 17. All defendants whose cases were originally scheduled for January 29 should come to Suwanee Municipal Court, at 323 Buford Highway, on February 17. For more information or to request another date, contact the court at c@suwanee.com  or 770-945-6962 and select option #6.

January 25, 2014


Green is a really good color for the City of Suwanee. So says the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), which recertified Suwanee this week as a Green Community. Suwanee first earned certification as a Green Community in 2009.

In order to be certified by the ARC as a Green Community, the City had to earn a certain level of points for environmentally friendly policies and practices. Suwanee was certified at a bronze level.

"We view ourselves as a leader in smart growth in metro Atlanta," says Senior Planner Daniel Robinson. "We put a lot of value in open spaces and parks. The ARC green certification fits with our efforts to be environmentally conscious and friendly."

Since its first certification four years ago, Suwanee earned green points through several large initiatives, including obtaining LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for City Hall, reducing paper usage annually by some 30,000 sheets by transitioning to a paperless court and City Council, and saving nearly 50,000 miles over two years by fueling City vehicles at a local retailer rather than at a county facility in Buford.  Additional points were scored, Robinson notes, by having sidewalks and bike paths along many streets, recycling at City Hall, and installing bike racks at all City facilities.

January 14, 2014


The City of Suwanee is seeking proposals and samples from artists willing to go out on a limb to commemorate the 10th year of the City's finders-keepers, art-in-nature program.  Since 2005 through its Art on a Limb program, the City of Suwanee has hidden two pieces of original artwork daily throughout the month of May along the Suwanee Creek Greenway and at other parks.

Artistic proposals for this year's program will be accepted through February 24. Guidelines and an application are available at suwanee.com.

Art on a Limb is an award-winning, month-long program designed to celebrate and bring attention to the arts as well as the natural beauty of the Suwanee Creek Greenway and parks. Past Art on a Limb pieces have included clay birds and orbs, small paintings on canvas as well as pieces of the City's old water tower, magnets, gourds painted to look like birds, the Suwanee S shaped from metal, and pottery pieces that include leaves found along the Greenway.

January 3, 2014


Approximately 40 properties within a 67-acre area of Suwanee's historic Old Town district have now been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service approved the designation on December 24.

Suwanee's historic district is centered on Main Street, Stonecypher Road, Russell Street, and the railroad corridor. Contributing properties within the district will now be eligible for federal and state tax incentives for improvements that help preserve the property's historic value.

"This is undoubtedly a win for Suwanee," says City Councilmember Beth Hilscher, who is also a member of Suwanee's Downtown Development Authority, which nominated the area for inclusion in the National Register. "The registry designation is a step toward honoring Suwanee's heritage while providing tax incentives for those property owners willing to invest in the preservation of our historic properties.  While I am personally looking forward to seeing the progress that that will come about from renovations to Pierce's Corner, the district designation is great for other eligible property owners who may be able to avail themselves of the tax incentives."

According to a press release from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources: "National Register listing encourages preservation of historic properties through public awareness, federal and state tax incentives, and grants. Listing in the National Register does not place obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property."

Suwanee's historic district was deemed important for its small, representative collection of commercial buildings commonly found in Georgia small towns and especially for its variety of residential types and styles popular from the 1870s to the 1950s, including shotgun houses, central hallway, New South cottage, gabled wing cottage, Queen Anne cottage, pyramidal cottage, Georgian cottage, American Small House, ranch house, and I-house.