2013 News Releases
May 16, 2013
3-D SIDEWALK ART BEING CREATED AT TOWN CENTER
AS PART OF ARTS IN THE PARK FESTIVAL
Suwanee's Arts in the Park festival isn't until Saturday, but the first pieces of art are already in place (think Suwanee's SculpTour, a walkable public art encounter) or in the process of being created onsite. Artist Truman Adams of Sarasota, Florida, is in the midst of creating a 57-foot-long, 3-D sidewalk painting in Suwanee's Town Center Park.
The interactive painting of a mountain stream includes a beaver, duck, and butterflies as well as stepping stones and is designed to appear 3-D when looked at through a camera lens. The artist explains that in order for the painting to appear 3-D in photographs, it cannot look multidimensional to the naked eye. "It's all about perspective," says Truman. "The 3-D illusion is based on angles. I'm putting a vertical picture on a horizontal surface and then the painting will be viewed from a vertical perspective."
The interactive aspect of the painting relates to the stepping stones. When someone steps on the painted stones and someone else takes their photograph from the designated spot, it will appear as if the first person is actually crossing a gurgling mountain stream.
Adams estimates that, including prep time and planning, the painting will require a total of six days. Using a paint brush duct-taped to a bamboo stick, Adams began painting on Tuesday and hopes to be finished before the Arts in the Park festival begins at 11 a.m. Saturday. The sidewalk painting was commissioned by the Suwanee Public Arts Commission.
An artist his "whole life," Adams has undertaken a full gamut of "all things artistic," including murals, stained glass mosaics, street art, and portraiture.
He's created street art over the past four years and loves the scale of it. "I fell in love with doing larger work," he says. "It's very Zen to work outside and do this. I feel like a Zen master making a garden on the street."
May 16, 2013
SUWANEE PLANS EVENT DOUBLEHEADER MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
The City of Suwanee will host back-to-back events Memorial Day weekend.
First up on Friday, May 24, is the University of West Georgia Concert Band, which will perform a free concert as part of the City's annual Memorial Weekend celebration. The band, comprised of the most advanced woodwind, brass, and percussion players at West Georgia, will take the stage around 7:15 p.m. at Town Center Park.
Before the band's performance, the Aero X aerial demonstration team, made up of active duty, veteran, and civilian personnel, will "drop in" via parachute at Town Center Park at approximately 7 p.m., weather permitting. The Silver Wings out of Fort Benning, who usually perform at this event, cannot appear due to federal sequestration budget cuts.
The following evening – Saturday, May 25 – come back to Town Center to cheer on the Upton brothers and other Atlanta Braves as they travel to New York to take on the Mets. The Braves are bringing the big screen as well as inflatables, activities, and Homer to Suwanee for Game on the Green. Activities begin about 6 p.m. with a performance by the Full Circle band; first pitch is at 7:15.
Also, on May 25, the Berlin Wall section currently on temporary display in front of City Hall will be auctioned at 4:30 p.m. by the Auction Management Corporation. Bids may be submitted onsite or online via live webcast at www.auctionEbid.com.
May 4, 2013
BE A SUWANEE PARK AMABASSADOR
The City of Suwanee is offering a training program on Wednesday, May 22, for residents interested in volunteering as park ambassadors. Suwanee park ambassadors help provide information and assistance to park and Suwanee Creek Greenway visitors as well as feedback to the City on any security- or maintenance-related issues.
The one-hour training program will take place at 6:30 p.m. May 22 at the Suwanee Police Department training facility at 2966 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Roads. Applications are available at www.suwanee.com; notarized applications are due Monday, May 13.
For more information, contact Ofc. Elias Casanas at email@example.com or 770/904-7612.
May 3, 2013
WOOFSTOCK: STAR 94 THROWS A PAW-TY AT TOWN CENTER PARK
Star 94 Radio will unleash the fun – for both two-legged and four-legged creatures – when it hosts its annual Woofstock event from 12-7 p.m. Saturday, May 11, in Suwanee's Town Center Park. The event will include dog exhibitions, pet contests, live musical entertainment, inflatables for children, and a variety of vendors, including pet adoption and rescue groups.
Musical performances will be presented by Departure, a Journey tribute band, Gareth Asher, and the Dave Matthews Tribute Band. For performance times and additional activities, please see event schedule below.
Admission to Woofstock is free. Dogs, cats, birds, and ferrets are welcome; all animals must be on a leash.
Food and beverages, including beer and wine, may be purchased from event vendors as well as Town Center restaurants, but no alcohol may be brought into Town Center Park.
Limited parking is available at Town Center behind the businesses. Additional parking may be available along Main Street, from which patrons can access Town Center via the pedestrian tunnel.
May 2, 2013
CITY OFFERS CARS, LAWN & OFFICE EQUIPMENT VIA ONLINE AUCTION
The City of Suwanee is offering more than 100 items – including five vehicles, dozens of pieces of office equipment, and even a chicken coop – via an online surplus auction. The auction begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow (May 3) via the GovDeals website; to see and bid on City of Suwanee items, go to www.govdeals.com/cityofsuwanee. Bids will be accepted until the evening of Monday, May 13.
The vehicles being auctioned are former police vehicles. The minimum bid for each is $500. In addition, lawn equipment, office printers, computers, file cabinets, and other miscellaneous items, including a former chicken coop, will be offered, for which bidding may begin as low as $5.
April 29, 2013
HISTORY MEETS ART: SUWANEE'S BERLIN WALL TEMPORARY EXHIBIT
It's a piece of concrete. It's a piece of art. It's a piece of history. It's a section of the Berlin Wall, and it currently is standing in front of Suwanee's City Hall at 330 Town Center Avenue.
This iconic symbol of the Cold War era stands approximately 13 feet tall and weighs 8,000 pounds. The once-western-facing side of the concrete section features graffiti artwork that depicts a building, people, and the American flag. The wall section is anticipated to be on display in Suwanee over the next couple of months while Auction Management Corporation prepares to auction off the four-ton historic/artistic marker.
This section of the Berlin Wall was found in an East Berlin work camp and has been in the Atlanta area since 1991, but has rarely been on public exhibit. The current owner is a court-appointed federal receiver who plans to auction off the wall section, and the exhibit in Suwanee is designed to generate interest in the piece. Sections of the Berlin Wall can be found at museums, colleges, and businesses in at least 26 U.S. states, according to a 2009 USA Today article.
"We're thrilled to be able to exhibit this section of the Berlin Wall," says Suwanee's Economic and Community Development Director Denise Brinson. "It's a cool way to bring an important piece of art and history to area residents. This display fits in well with Suwanee's goal of making art accessible."
The Berlin Wall was an approximately 100-mile barrier constructed beginning in 1961 – and re-enforced over the years – by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). The barrier effectively cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany, prevented free passage by East Germans to the West, and became the iron curtain that literally separated Eastern and Western Europe until 1989.
Auction details for the wall section on display in Suwanee are still being determined.
April 24, 2013
B AT THE MOVIES: SUWANEE TO SCREEN 'MEN IN BLACK 3'
B at the Movies Saturday, May 4, when B98.5 brings Men in Black 3 to the big screen at Town Center Park. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, this time along with Josh Brolin, confront aliens-gone-bad once again and, along the way, save Earth as well. Released last year, this time-travel, sci-fi comedy is rated PG-13.
"This mostly solid sequel is a return to form for the series and just stellar enough to make it a must-see for fans of summer popcorn fare, no matter your age," writes We Got This Covered critic Kristal Cooper on www.rottentomatoes.com. Men in Black 3, adds Scene-Stealers.com critic Eric Melin, "deepens the relationship between J and K, but it's still really a showcase for more of the same offbeat humor and imaginative special effects…."
The movie, which will begin shortly after dusk, is free and open to the public. Bring snacks, blankets, and lawn chairs, but no alcohol may be brought into the park. Concessions will be available for purchase.
April 24, 2013
GET FRESH AT SUWANEE FARMERS MARKET
Suwanee area residents will be able to get fresher, locally grown produce – and a whole lot more – when the Suwanee Farmers Market opens for the season on Saturday, May 4. The farmers market will be open at Town Center Park from 8 am-noon Saturdays through October 5 (except for September 21) and 4-7 pm Tuesdays through August 6.
In addition to in-season produce, a wide array of natural and homemade items will be available at the market, including honey, bread, meat and eggs, salsa, baked goods, rubs, locally roasted coffee beans, goat cheese, gourmet popsicles, plants and flowers, herbs, and organic cotton candy products.
The number of vendors at the market will vary from week to week, from about 15 to nearly 30, depending on the day and what's in season.
Every other Saturday, beginning on May 11, representatives from the Gwinnett Cooperative Extension will be on hand to share recipes and discuss in-season produce.
April 24, 2013
SUWANEE SERVES UP FOOD TRUCK FARE
Do you savor tasty trends? You can sink your teeth into innovative takes on street food at Suwanee's Food Truck Fridays. On the first Friday of May, June, August, and September, Suwanee will serve up some of metro Atlanta's favorite food truck vendors at Town Center Park.
Suwanee's first Food Truck Friday is scheduled for May 3. The event officially begins at 7 p.m., but dinner – and music – will be served up as early as 6:30.
"We've had an extraordinarily enthusiastic response to our Food Truck Fridays announcement," says Events Manager Amy Doherty. "It seems everyone wants to be in on this trend. People are so excited, you'd almost think the food being served up was low-calorie as well as being delicious."
Food truck vendors on May 3 will include Atlanta Burger Truck, Chay J's New Orleans Candies, King of Pops, Mighty Meatball Mobile, Nana G's Chicken and Waffles, One Love Jerk Grill, and Pressed for Time. Food truck vendors are subject to change.
Free entertainment also will be served up on Food Truck Fridays. The Peachtree Ridge, North Gwinnett, Collins Hill, and Flowery Branch high school jazz bands will perform May 3.
April 20, 2013
SUWANEE GOES OUT ON A LIMB WITH ANNUAL ART PROGRAM
Suwanee's annual finders-keepers, month-long Art on a Limb program will bloom along the Suwanee Creek Greenway as well as at Sims Lake and White Street parks throughout the month of May. Through this perennial program, which is designed to bring attention to Suwanee's arts efforts as well as its parks, two pieces of original artwork are hidden each day; those who find a piece of art along one of Suwanee's trails get to keep it.
This year's Art on a Limb pieces are clay birds and tiles created by Suwanee artist Judy Isaak. On the tiles are representations of nature and Suwanee landmarks. The pieces are created from red clay, which Isaak chose to represent the ubiquitous red Georgia soil.
"Through Art on a Limb, 62 pieces of art will be claimed by area residents," says Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Being out enjoying the Greenway or one of Suwanee's parks in May has its own benefits, but this program takes park perks to a whole new level."
"Suwanee's doing a great job of promoting the arts," says Isaak. "I'm very honored to be part of the Art on a Limb program."
Born and raised in Manitoba, Canada, Isaak has made pottery for about 30 years, but it's only been over the past decade, shortly after she and her family moved to Suwanee, that she's taken it on as a full-time occupation.
In her Tannery Row studio in downtown Buford, Isaak creates functional pieces as well as items that are raku-fired to add texture and excitement. Her pieces also demonstrate flashes of her sense of humor: She creates face jugs that have been rakued as well as fish with bright red lips.
April 18, 2013
SUWANEE ADDS SCULPTURES TO PERMANENT COLLECTION
Suwanee's Public Arts Commission (PAC) has purchased two pieces from the 2012 Suwanee SculpTour exhibit, which closed in March. The sculptures, purchased with private donations made to the public arts program, are now part of Suwanee's permanent art collection and will be moved over the next couple of weeks from Town Center to new display locations at Sims Lake Park.
The PAC purchased Audubon by Tennessee artist Jim Collins and Wind Sculpture Weathervane, which was the People's Choice winner, by Blairsville artist Al Garnto.
Public art pieces, like those exhibited and acquired through Suwanee SculpTour, says Economic and Community Development Director Denise Brinson, "make our community more interesting."
"SculpTour has given us a jumpstart on our public art collection," she adds. "It gives us a way to test out pieces before we buy them, to figure out how well they hold up and what it takes to maintain them."
SculpTour is Suwanee's walkable public art encounter. The privately funded program brings sculptures created by artists from around the country for display in downtown Suwanee. The 2012 exhibit ended in March; the 2013-15 Suwanee SculpTour will officially open at the May 18 Arts in the Park festival.
April 15, 2013
SUPER INCREDIBLE & FREE CONCERT
The Journey tribute band Departure will "Faithfully" perform the top hits of the San Francisco-based, 1980s hit-makers "Any Way You Want It" when they take the Suwanee Town Center stage this Saturday, April 20, for a free concert. The 7 p.m. concert punctuates Suwanee's Super Incredible Day, which includes a registration-required team scavenger race/challenge through downtown Suwanee.
Departure will take the stage at 8 p.m. following the performance of an opening band. One of the most respected Journey tribute bands in the nation, Departure was voted Atlanta's "best local entertainer" in 2011 and 2012. The five Departure musicians replicate the look, sound, and feel of the original '80s rock group.
Bring blankets, lawn chairs, picnic baskets, and your dancing shoes, but no alcohol may be brought into Town Center Park. Food and beverages, including beer and wine, may be purchased that evening from Town Center restaurants and concert vendors.
Limited parking is available at Town Center. Additional parking may be available along Main Street, from which patrons can access Town Center via the pedestrian tunnel.
April 8, 2013
'HEART OF STONE' TO CLOSE SUWANEE'S 2012-13 FILM CIRCUIT
Heart of Stone, the final movie in Suwanee's 2012-13 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, will be shown at 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, at Movie Tavern, 2855 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. Tickets are $6 and available at the theater or www.movietavern.com.
Heart of Stone chronicles the efforts of Principal Ron Stone to restore order and learning at one of the most violent schools in the country, Newark's Weequahic High School. The documentary demonstrates how disparate groups, including gangs, can work together to rebuild and revitalize older communities.
On the Rotten Tomatoes website, on which the film scored a 100 percent on the tomatometer, Los Angeles Times critic Kevin Thomas writes: "Heart of Stone is a portrait of a dedicated man – smart, articulate, strong, and tough-minded yet warm and compassionate, willing and able to reach out and communicate with his students on an individual basis."
Ticket price includes refreshments and an opportunity to interact with filmmaker Beth Kruvant.
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of South Arts. Southern Circuit screenings are funded, in part, by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
March 26, 2013
MAKE SUWANEE A STAR
Make Suwanee the star of your original 1-3 minute video and you could be the winner of up to $1,000. The deadline for submissions to the City of Suwanee's 2013 video competition is May 24.
"Videos, especially ones that are funny, unique, or little bit off somehow, have become part of our social media-fueled culture," says Public Information Officer Lynne Bohlman DeWilde. "We'd love for a Suwanee video to be an intentional part of that conversation. We'd love to have folks around the country buzzing, asking: 'Did you see that funny video about living in Suwanee?'"
Videos must be submitted in WMV or MOV format on a DVD along with an application, which is available at www.suwanee.com. Submitted videos may be posted to the City's YouTube channel and Facebook page.
The City hosted its first video competition last year and received seven entries.
March 15, 2013
SUWANEE HOSTING SUPER INCREDIBLY FUN RACE, CONCERT
The City of Suwanee is bringing back its award-winning, super incredibly fun Super Incredible Race on April 20. The race is a scavenger-like hunt, a la Amazing Race meets small-town America, in which teams of two or teams of family members receive a series of clues that require them to complete a variety of high-energy mental and physical challenges. During last year's event, contestants slurped spaghetti noodles, danced, raced on hippity-hops, solved a multi-step math equation for which the answer was 30024, and told a joke, among other activities.
The City is extending the fun this year by presenting its spring concert immediately following the race. Departure, a Journey tribute band, will perform at Town Center at 7 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.
Race participants may compete on foot or bike and will travel to a variety of locations throughout the Town Center and Old Town areas. Participants should expect that they may walk (or run) or bike up to 5 miles, and completion of the race course is expected to take between one to three hours. The race will begin at 3 p.m. at Town Center Park.
Pre-registration is required; the deadline to register is April 5. The registration fee is $25 per two-person team plus $10 per additional participant for family teams. All registrants will receive a 2013 Super Incredible Race t-shirt. Contestants will need to bring a camera, smart phone or other means of Internet access, and at least one canned good per team member. Prizes will be awarded to winning teams in both the pedestrian and bike categories. Prizes also will be awarded for best costume/themes.
"We had a blast," says Suwanee resident Cris Koenigs, who participated in the Super Incredible Race last year with her husband and son. "The route was fantastic, the trivia relevant to 30024, and the tasks were super fun.
The inaugural Suwanee's Super Incredible Race has been recognized as Best New Event by the Southeast Festival and Events Association.
March 7, 2013
ARBOR DAY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
The City of Suwanee is looking for a little more Zen by planting Japanese maple trees at Sims Lake Park on Saturday, March 16, in celebration of Arbor Day.
Volunteers are needed to help plant the trees in the landscaped area along the lake where the Sunset sculpture sits. Planting will begin at 9 a.m. To volunteer, contact Daniel Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year marks the 23rd consecutive year that Suwanee has been recognized as a Tree City USA for excellence in urban forestry management by the Arbor Day Foundation.
March 4, 2013
'DUNDERHEADS' COMING TO SUWANEE
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers continues March 18 with a screening of The Misadventures of the Dunderheads, which stars big-name actors Olympia Dukakis and Haley Joel Osment. The movie will be shown at 7 p.m. Monday, March 18, at Movie Tavern, 2855 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. Tickets may be purchased for $6 each at the theater or online at www.movietavern.com; ticket price includes a light snack and an opportunity to engage in discussion with filmmakers.
The Misadventures of the Dunderheads follows an eccentric Montana family: a grandmother who can't read, a 17-year-old who accidently kills his best friend, and his 18-year-old sister who is several degrees off kilter. The trio is on the run to Canada, but end up in Mexico, in this funny and poignant fable of the human family.
The film was directed by DG Brock, who has worked with legendary film producer Roger Corman and as a Disney screenwriter, and produced by Bruce Stubblefield, whose sound credits include three Academy Award winners. Misadventures won Best Feature Film at The Big Apple Film Festival at Tribeca Center.
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of South Arts. Southern Circuit screenings are funded, in part, by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
February 27, 2013
CITY PURCHASES GATEWAY PROPERTY
As part of its ongoing, long-term efforts to improve the Suwanee Gateway, the City of Suwanee closed today on a 3.4-acre tract at 2955 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. The property currently houses the former May Queen Hotel, which has been closed for approximately a year for safety reasons.
The City purchased the property from First Intercontinental Bank for $1.25 million. The City's immediate plans are to demolish the dilapidated buildings, clean up the site, and land bank the property for the future.
"This purchase represents one more step in the City of Suwanee's efforts to improve the Suwanee Gateway and ensure the long-term viability of this commercial area," says Mayor Jimmy Burnette. "This purchase allows the City to eliminate a vacant, rundown building and invest, as have several private businesses and other public agencies, in the long-term success of the area. We're extremely optimistic about the future of the Suwanee Gateway."
One of the top community goals identified through Suwanee's 2020 Vision strategic plan, in which some 800 community members participated last year, is improving the Suwanee Gateway, the City's oldest commercial area, developed largely in the 1960s and '70s after I-85 was extended to Suwanee.
"Over and over again through the strategic plan process," says City Manager Marty Allen, "we heard that focusing on the Gateway and getting rid of blight need to be top priorities."
The existing hotel structure on the tract that Suwanee has purchased is antiquated, visually unappealing, and financially impractical to rehabilitate. In addition, before and since closing of the hotel, the property has become a setting for increased criminal activity. Police Chief Mike Jones says that recent calls from that location have included theft, trespassing, manufacturing and selling methamphetamine, and verbal disputes.
"A vacant building like that," says Jones, "is a magnet for crime. If we can get rid of the building and clean up the property, then we can reduce the police time spent on calls to the property and avoid the spread of crime to the surrounding area as well as the deterioration of nearby properties."
Says Allen: "Significant improvements in the Gateway area are going to require bold measures like this. We've had success in the past in acquiring land, creating a master plan, and turning to the private sector for implementation. While we have no immediate plans for this particular property, we're confident that in the long run the City's acquisition of this property is a positive step toward improving the Gateway and enhancing the community at large."
The City's purchase of the property, Allen adds, is yet another example of recent public and private investments, totaling several million dollars, in the Gateway area. Recent improvements in the Gateway have included opening of the new Suwanee police training facility; extension of McGinnis Ferry Road; the recently completed streetscaping project around the interstate interchange; opening of Movie Tavern, QT, and other businesses; development of Northolt Parkway; and construction of 335 apartment units.
February 27, 2013
THE 2012 BEST OF SUWANEE'S FINEST
Suwanee Police Department Awards for 2012 were announced at the February 26 City Council meeting. Ofc. Michael Troutman was elected by his colleagues as the 2012 Officer of the Year, and Dispatcher Gabriel Bunch was elected Civilian of the Year.
Several officers were recognized with a Chief's Award, which is presented each year to officers who distinguish themselves day in and day out through their professionalism and strong work ethic. Officers winning a Chief's Award were:
- Capt. Clyde Byers
- Det. Sgt. Shane Edmisten
- Ofc. Rob McCoy
- Sgt. Robert Thompson
Ofc. Simon Byun is the department's 2012 Top Gun, earning the highest score in the annual firing range competition.
February 21, 2013
March 2: Cultures of Suwanee
Students in the Studio I program at North Gwinnett High School are hosting Cultures of Suwanee, a communitywide event from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Town Center Park. This free event, which will include food, performances, music, activities, and vendor/sponsor booths, is designed to celebrate and enhance understanding of various cultures.
February 21, 2013
SUWANEE EVENTS NOT ONLY FUN – ALSO AWARD-WINNING!
The City of Suwanee's events are not only fun, they're also award-winning. The City received six Kaliedoscope Awards from the Southeast Festival and Events Association (SEFA) during its annual conference in Auburn, Alabama, earlier this week.
Suwanee's Super Incredible Race, a mind-bending, heart-racing team scavenger hunt/race through downtown Suwanee, was named Best New Event. The inaugural Super Incredible Race was held last spring. This year's event will take place April 20; applications, available at www.suwanee.com, are due April 5.
The City's Suwanee Day festival won five awards, including:
- Best Sponsor (gold) – Lewis Expo and Logistics
- Best Event Photo (silver)
- Best T-shirt (bronze)
- Best Creative Idea (bronze) for the festival volunteer pocket guide
- Best Vendor/Supplier – FunFare.
"I was really excited that Suwanee won more awards than any other city or organization," says Events Manager Amy Doherty. "We take a lot of pride in putting together creative, fun events that help enhance our sense of community."
In addition, the 2013 Suwanee Day festival, which is the 30th celebration of the community event, has received recognition from the Southeast Tourism Society as a Top 20 event for the fall. Suwanee Day will be celebrated on September 21. Find more information as well as exhibitor/vendor applications beginning in mid-March at www.suwaneeday.com.
February 19, 2013
SUWANEE PD EARNS STATE RE-CERTIFICATION
The City of Suwanee Police Department has once again received statewide certification from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. State certification, which the Suwanee law enforcement agency first earned in 2000, confirms that agency practices are consistent with progressive professional standards. State certification is valid for three years.
"State certification helps us to be vigilant in maintaining efficient and effective operations and practices," says Chief Mike Jones. "It helps to keep us on task."
In 2010, the Suwanee Police Department was nationally accredited for the first time by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Suwanee is scheduled to be reviewed by CALEA for re-accreditation later this year.
National accreditation is based on an agency's ability to meet more than 450 standards. State certification encompasses more than 100 standards, 21 of which are unique to the state and not included in national standards.
February 18, 2013
STATE SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF SUWANEE
IN SETTLES BRIDGE FARM/NOTRE DAME SCHOOL CASE
The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the City of Suwanee in a suit brought forward by Settles Bridge Farm landowners, vacating a Gwinnett Superior Court award and determining that the City did not act inappropriately in 2008 when it implemented a 90-day development moratorium and subsequently a special-use process for large-scale projects.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court overturned a January 2012 Gwinnett County Superior Court decision by Judge Warren Davis to award approximately $1.8 million to Settles Bridge Farm, who had contended that the City's actions devalued its 36.5-acre property near the intersection of Moore and Settles Bridge roads. The development company had entered into a contract with a private school that had planned to build a multi-grade campus in the established residential area.
"Of course, we're pleased that the Supreme Court ruled in our favor," says Mayor Jimmy Burnette. "We were confident all along that our actions were legal and appropriate for our community and that the Supreme Court would understand the complexities of this case. While the process of protecting our community can sometimes be difficult, we will continue to implement appropriate zoning and planning tools to maintain the integrity of our award-winning community."
The special use permit process for large-scale projects implemented by the City of Suwanee in 2008 remains in place today. This process does not prohibit such development, but rather allows the City to more closely evaluate such projects. At the time the school project was being proposed, the City was in the final stages of drafting its 2030 comprehensive plan, which calls for the preservation of established residential neighborhoods.
"Throughout this process and the subsequent court case," says Burnette, "the City has received tremendous support from residents along the Moore Road area, who did not want to see the character of their area changed."
February 6, 2013
PROGRAM ENCOURAGES PARENTS, TEENS TO TAKE 'PRIDE' IN DRIVING
The Suwanee Police Department is offering a 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, February 27, 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 February 15; forms are available at www.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.
February 5, 2013
For the third time, Suwanee residents have been asked to rate community characteristics and government services through the National Citizens Survey. For the third time, residents have rated Suwanee highly, generally above and often much above ratings received from residents in some 500 other jurisdictions across the country.
In the 2012 National Citizens Survey, conducted in November, residents' ratings placed Suwanee among the top 10 performing communities in 32 of 117 questions addressed – that's 27 percent. Residents' responses made Suwanee #1 in four areas: land use, planning and zoning; preservation of natural areas; city parks; and availability of affordable quality child care.
Suwanee conducts the National Citizens Survey every two years. The survey allows the approximately 500 participating communities across the country to benchmark themselves against one another and to identify local challenges, evaluate improvements, and monitor services and amenities. The statistically valid and scientifically administered survey is managed by the National Research Center and International City/County Management Association (ICMA).
Suwanee residents continue to be pleased with overall community quality. Ninety-nine percent of survey-takers rated Suwanee as an excellent or good place to live and would recommend living in Suwanee. Ninety-seven percent rated the overall quality of life as excellent or good.
"This scientific, objective analysis allows us to measure citizen desires and our performance," says Mayor Jimmy Burnette. "What we're really pleased with is how we've stayed strong. Our numbers have stayed consistently high across the board and across time. It seems clear that residents, too, are pleased with our direction as a community."
In the area of public trust, 89 percent of residents said they are pleased with the overall direction Suwanee is taking (putting Suwanee second among 300 communities) and 76 percent felt that the value of services for taxes paid to Suwanee was excellent or good, ranking Suwanee fifth among 366 communities that asked their residents that question. As a comparison, 40 percent of Suwanee residents said that services provided by the federal government were excellent or good, a rating that is similar to that of other communities.
Of 31 community characteristics for which comparisons are available, Suwanee residents rated their community above the national benchmark in 30 areas. Suwanee ranked below the benchmark in the area of contact with neighbors. Of 36 services rated, Suwanee scored above the national benchmark in 33 areas. Two services (snow removal and recycling) were ranked similarly to the benchmark, and bus/transit service scored below the benchmark.
Two areas in which Suwanee excelled were preservation of natural areas (Suwanee repeated its #1 ranking from 2010) and city parks, moving up from #2 in 2010 to #1.
"This is another affirmation of the 2001 Open Space referendum," says Burnette, "of how it has shaped our community and was so much the right thing to do."
Other survey findings include:
- Suwanee's overall image/reputation was rated excellent or good by 98 percent of respondents.
- Suwanee ranked seventh among 277 communities for availability of affordable housing and eighth among 201 for variety of housing options.
- The excellent/good ratings for Suwanee's land use, planning, and zoning was up 13 percent over 2010 survey results, putting Suwanee at the top of the benchmark.
- Court services' excellent/good rating was up 12 percent over 2010, going from 69 to 81 percent.
- Eighty-four percent of residents visited a neighborhood or City park more than three times in the previous 12 months; 51 percent more than 13 times; and 30 percent more than 26 times.
- Suwanee as a place to work was rated more highly in 2012, up 12 percent.
- Forty-eight percent of respondents moved to Suwanee within the past 5 years and among areas that were most important to their selection of Suwanee as a place to live were police/public safety, community appearance, overall community feel/vibe, neighborhoods, park system, and Suwanee's image/reputation.
The National Citizens Survey was administered in November. Suwanee's overall response rate was 25 percent; the typical response rate on citizen surveys ranges from 20-40 percent.
February 1, 2013
INDEPENDENT FILM CIRCUIT RETURNS TO SUWANEE
The second half of the 2012-13 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers returns to Suwanee and Movie Tavern with a screening of TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives at 7 p.m. Monday, February 18.
Tickets may be purchased for $6 each at Movie Tavern or online at www.movietavern.com and include an opportunity to engage in discussion with the filmmaker, Nancy Kelly.
Part of Kelly's award-winning trilogy on the transformative power of art, TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives follows members of Chicago's Albany Park Theater Project as they transform the traumatic story of an 18-year-old Honduran immigrant into a daring, original play. TRUST is about creativity and the unexpected resources inside young people, who may be discounted because of their youth, race, or ethnicity.
The film received the Jury Award from the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, the Youth Vision Award from the United Nations Association Film Festival, and Best Documentary Award from the Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival.
Parental note: Although TRUST is about youth, the subject matter includes adult topics; this film may not be appropriate for children.
Two additional films will be shown through the film circuit: The Misadventures of the Dunderheads on March 18 and Heart of Stone on April 15.
January 11, 2013
WANTED: FARMERS, BUTCHERS, BAKERS,
EVEN SOAP AND CANDLE-MAKERS
As the Suwanee Farmers Market gears up for its ninth year, farmers who can provide fresh produce as well as vendors with other items – including jams, breads, honey, meat products, eggs, flowers, and more – are invited to apply to participate in the 2013 season.
Applications are due by March 18, on which date the Suwanee Farmers Market Annual Meeting will be held. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Suwanee City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue.
Guidelines and applications are available at www.suwanee.com. Typically, the City receives more applications than can be accommodated by available vendor space. All products sold at Suwanee markets must be grown or made by the applicant; no re-selling of goods is permitted. In addition, vendors who sell products requiring state licenses must possess current licenses issued by the appropriate agencies.
The 2013 Suwanee Farmers Market will be open at Town Center Park from 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, May 4 through October 5, and from 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays, May 7 through August 6.
January 10, 2013
A REAL GLIMPSE BEHIND THE BADGE
Are you a cop show junkie? Can't get enough of the Law & Order, CSI, or NCIS programs? Well, you may be interested in a "behind the scenes" program being offered by the Suwanee Police Department, a hands-on, eight-week program that promises to be more realistic, personal, and impactful than watching a good television cop show.
The Suwanee Police Department will offer its popular Citizens Police Academy from 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesday evenings beginning February 19 at the Police Training Center at 2966 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.
Those wishing to participate must provide notarized applications by 5 p.m. Monday, February 4. Applications are available at www.suwanee.com. Applicants must be at least 19 years old, and City of Suwanee residents receive priority placement.
The program offers participants a better understanding of the day-to-day functions, risks, and experiences of Suwanee police officers. Topics addressed include crime scene processing, traffic stops, building searches, crime prevention, and narcotics identification.
A 2012 Citizens Police Academy participant said in an evaluation: "The program is very informative, and it helps to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement."
January 9, 2013
SUWANEE SEEKS ARTISTS TO HELP IT PUT 'ART ON A LIMB'
The City of Suwanee wants to hear from artists who are willing to go out on a limb – literally. Suwanee is accepting proposals and samples from artists who wish to have their work considered for the City's month-long, award-winning Art on a Limb program.
Through Art on a Limb, two pieces of original artwork are hidden along the Suwanee Creek Greenway or at one of the City's parks each day throughout the month of May. Those who find the art pieces get to keep the unique trail treasures.
Past Art on a Limb pieces have included clay 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.
The deadline for submitting entries to be considered for the 2013 Art on a Limb program is February 15. More information and an application are available at www.suwanee.com.
Area residents have come to look forward to Art on a Limb as part of spring in Suwanee. Last year, Michawne Clark found a clay mug created by Sandra Nissan: "I cannot tell you how excited I was to see it hanging from the fence separating the Greenway from McGinnis Reserve…. Once I realized what it was, I screamed like I had won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes…."
January 3, 2013
MAYOR TO PRESENT 'STATE OF THE CITY' JANUARY 9
Mayor Jimmy Burnette will give the annual State of the City address on Wednesday, January 9, in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue. The State of the City address is part of the January meeting of the Suwanee Business Alliance, which begins at 6 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public.
The mayor will share City accomplishments from 2012, which include opening of a police training facility and substation in the Suwanee Gateway, streetscaping projects at I-85 and along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, and a 0.72 reduction in the City's tax rate.
In addition, Burnette will share information about the 20/20 Vision strategic plan process as well as highlight some of the priorities and strategies identified in the plan. Suwanee's strategic plan, which engaged more than 800 area residents, business owners, and community stakeholders, resulted in seven driving principles, 33 goals, and 140 potential strategies.