2015 News Releases

March 30, 2015


At the end of 2014, the City of Suwanee participated in its fourth National Citizen Survey, a statistically valid survey managed by the National Research Center that gathers resident opinions across a range of community issues. As in previous years, Suwanee residents' ratings put the City of Suwanee at or near the top in a variety of areas as compared to other communities across the country.

In fact, residents rated Suwanee higher than other participating communities across the nation in eight categories. Across the 127 categories Suwanee residents were requested to rate, Suwanee scored in the top 10 in 27 percent of them.

"The National Citizen Survey remains an important tool for us to gauge citizen satisfaction," says Mayor Jimmy Burnette. "We always learn a little something about ourselves as a community through the survey, and it's good to know that the City of Suwanee continues to be headed in the right direction."

The City of Suwanee was ranked #1 compared to other benchmarked communities in the following areas:

  • City-sponsored events
  • job Suwanee government does welcoming citizen involvement
  • overall built environment
  • availability of affordable quality childcare
  • overall confidence in local government
  • generally acting in the best interest of the community
  • being honest
  • treating all residents fairly.

Included in the 26 other areas in which Suwanee was ranked among the top 10 nationally are the categories noted below. Also noted is the rank Suwanee achieved as well as the number of other participating communities who included that particular category among their survey questions:

  • quality of overall natural environment (#5 of 234)
  • overall direction Suwanee is taking (#2 of 277)
  • preservation of natural areas (#4 of 219)
  • economic development (#3 of 240)
  • neighborliness (#3 of 81)
  • services provided by the City (#7 of 377)
  • overall appearance (#10 of 308)
  • City parks (#2 of 275)
  • vibrant downtown/commercial area (#5 of 79)
  • positive impact of economy on household income (#2 of 216).

Suwanee was ranked lower than other benchmarked communities in a seven areas, including bus or transit service, use of public transportation, and citizen participation in volunteer opportunities.

Survey results from 2014 continue to indicate that Suwanee residents are highly satisfied with the community's overall quality of life:

  • 96% rated Suwanee's quality of life as good or excellent
  • 98% said Suwanee was a good or excellent place to live
  • 97% found Suwanee a good or excellent place to raise kids
  • 96% would recommend living in Suwanee.

When the City asked survey-takers who had moved to Suwanee after January 1, 2009 to score the most important factors in their relocation decision, they rated the following as essential or very important:

  • police/public safety (92%)
  • Suwanee's neighborhoods (90%)
  • community appearance (88%)
  • overall community feel/vibe (86%)
  • Suwanee's park system (83%)
  • school system (78%).

The 2014 National Citizen Survey was sent to 1,200 randomly selected City of Suwanee addresses in November. The response rate for surveys was 22%. The National Citizen Survey is endorsed by the International City/County Management Association and the National League of Cities.

March 27, 2015


Food trucks will roll into Suwanee's Town Center Park the first Friday of each month April-October (with the exception of July). Suwanee's first Food Truck Friday event of 2015 is next week on April 3.

"We've been amazed at how excited and passionate the community is about this event," says Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Suwanee people love their food trucks, and they really want to know who's going to be there and what's going to be served."

Food will be served from 5:30-9:30 p.m. each month, with live musical performances beginning at 7 p.m.

"Town Center Music is coordinating our bands this year," Doherty notes. "We're excited at the level of talent and variety of music that they'll bring to the community."

The bands performing in April are Sunset District, an indie-rock collective based in Atlanta, and Littlebrother, formerly the Jon Harkey Band, who lean toward smooth pop-rock with folk influences.

The tentative food truck line-up for April 3 includes Atlanta Chamos Grill, Down the Bayou Cajun Cuisine, Freckled and Blue, Happy Belly, King of Pops, Mac the Cheese, Pressed for Time, On Tapa the World, Tasting Maine, Tracy's Tasties, and Yolis Street Food.

March 20, 2015


As part of its commitment to being a Tree City USA, the City of Suwanee will plant elm or oak trees behind the Municipal Court/Crossroads Center at 323 Buford Highway. Volunteers are needed to assist with the planting at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 28. To volunteer, contact City Planner Dan Robinson at drobinson@suwanee.com.

"While planting an oak or elm tree might sound arduous, we promise that helping to plant these trees really is not back-breaking work. Just about anyone can do it, and it's a great way to give back to the environment and to make an impact on the community for many years to come."

The City of Suwanee has been a Tree City USA for 25 years.

March 19, 2015


Two messages that author and bottom-up community development guru Peter Kageyama hammers home in his book For the Love of Cities are that little things matter a lot and that creative, innovative, and engaged citizens are essential to producing vibrant, lovable communities. Kageyama will explore these topics and inspire residents to work together to make Suwanee even more loveable when he offers a community workshop from 2-5 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, at the George Pierce Park Community Center.

Area residents are welcomed to participate in this free workshop, hosted by the City of Suwanee. Please email love@suwanee.com to let the City of Suwanee know that you will be attending.

Kageyama notes in For the Love of Cities: "Cities are not directly responsible for being fun. Certainly they play a huge role in facilitating fun, but ultimately fun comes from the people who live in the community. The city may be a squelcher of that fun, or it can figure out how to nurture, support, and maybe even amplify the fun being produced by its citizens…. [T]he city is a venue, a stage, a playground, a canvas, a meeting place, and a market as well as its other more traditional definitions.

"Simply put," he adds, "government alone cannot create the vibrant cities we want to live in."

A community and economic development consultant based in St. Petersburg, Florida, Kageyama has been called the "Urban Cupid" and has spoken all over the world about bottom-up community development and the people who are making change happen. His second book, Love Where You Live, was published earlier this year.

March 13, 2015


The 2014 Suwanee Fest recently earned four Kaleidoscope Awards from the Southeast Festivals and Events Association (SFEA), including Best Festival. With exhibitor and entertainment applications now being accepted for the 2015 Suwanee Fest, artists and performance groups are invited to apply to be part of this multi-award-winning community festival.

Suwanee Fest will take place September 19 & 20 at Town Center Park. The festival includes arts and crafts exhibitors, children's rides and activities, and on-stage entertainment. Last year, approximately 55,000 people attended Suwanee Fest.

Exhibitor and entertainment applications are available at suwaneefest.com. The deadline for applications is June 1.  (Guidelines and entry forms for the 2015 Suwanee Fest design competition for the themed t-shirt logo also are available at suwaneefest.com. The deadline for these entries is May 1.)

"Suwanee is a great festival because...you're going to get the really heavy traffic," said 2014 exhibitor Julie Wettlaufer of Designs by Jewel. "I just love the atmosphere of Suwanee Fest. It brings a really nice crowd."

In addition to naming Suwanee Fest the Best Festival in the "budget over $75,000" category, SFEA also awarded the festival for:

  • Best Volunteer – in recognition of Chair Janis Beavin's multiple years of service and for leading the festival as it transitioned from a one-day to two-day event.
  • Best Creative Idea – for hosting a Blast a Storm Trooper activity in place of what would have been an unused sponsor booth.
  • Best t-shirt – the Suwanee Fest t-shirt won a silver award in this category.

The awards were presented February 17 in Chattanooga during the Southeast Festivals and Events Association's annual conference. More than 100 entries were received from organizations in five states.

March 11, 2015


Suwanee appears fun, outdoorsy, artsy, and snowy in the dozen winning photographs that comprise the 2015 Snap Suwanee exhibit currently on display at City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue.

Sixty entries were received for this year's annual community photo competition. The winning photographs will be on display until February 2016.

"Snap Suwanee has become one of the City's favorite community engagement projects," says Public Information Officer Lynne DeWilde. "It's always fun to see what strikes our photographers as noteworthy from year to year. This year's winning photos capture moments one doesn't see every day in Suwanee – from a hot air balloon in Town Center to snow to a paddleboarder on the Chattahoochee. They also capture those moments that are more ubiquitous, including folks interacting with public art and utilizing Suwanee parks as backdrops."

The winning photos and photographers in the exhibit are:

'A Beautiful Fractal'
Diana Duffield

'Christmas at Town Center'
Sean & Zane Tackett

'Four Ladies in Hats at the Lake'
Carla Hoff

'Heal the Past. Live the Present. Dream the Future.'
Terri Lynn Bealle

Lesa Kelley Osborn

'Little Smokie – Pig in the Park'
Connie White

'Never Forget!'
Sharron Callahan

'Paddleboarder on the Chattahoochee'
Kelly Haggard Olson

'Past Meets Future: International Space Station over Historic Suwanee'
Kristen Fredriksen

'Magical Moments'
Dallas Gillespie

'A Walk in the Woods'
Suwanee Creek Greenway

'Winter in Old Town'
Sandy Weaver

March 9, 2015


New teen drivers and their parents are encouraged to register by this Friday for the Suwanee Police Department's free two-hour Georgia Teens Ride with PRIDE (Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error) program. The class will be offered at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, 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 Friday, March 13; 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.

March 6, 2015


With assistance through the Charge Georgia Rebate Program, the City of Suwanee is working to install an electric vehicle fast-charge station at Town Center for public use. This will be the first fast-charge station to be installed by a municipality in Gwinnett County.

The dual-head, level-three charging station, expected to be installed by this summer, will be available 24/7 and capable of providing an 80 percent charge to most electric vehicles in less than 30 minutes. (By comparison, level two stations, such as are available in Buford and Peachtree Corners, require approximately four hours to provide a full charge, and level one stations take up to eight hours or more.)

The City of Suwanee will work with EnviroSpark Energy Solutions of Atlanta to install the EV Fast Charger system. Two parking spots at the back corner of City Hall on Savannah Square Street will be reserved for electric vehicles using the station, which will have two connectors, one which will serve SAE J1772-enabled vehicles while the other connects to CHAdeMO-enabled vehicles.

The City is still working to determine rates as well as whether the station will be available on a first come-first served or reservation system.

The cost for purchasing and installing the system is expected to be approximately $50,000 with 50 percent, up to $28,422, reimbursed to the City through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority's Charge Georgia program.

"It's really exciting to be able to offer an environmentally sensitive service such as this," says Public Works Director James Miller. "This effort continues the City's commitment to sustaining our environment, as signaled previously by LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design]-certification for City Hall as well as certification as a Green Community through the Atlanta Regional Commission. But the electric vehicle station also serves to give folks another reason to come to Town Center and further promotes downtown Suwanee."

February 16, 2015


The City of Suwanee will officially kick off its second update to the Downtown Master Plan at a community meeting at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5. Originally adopted in 2002 and last updated in 2009, the Downtown Master Plan provided the foundation for development of Town Center.

This Downtown Master Plan update, which will include a market analysis, design charrette for targeted areas, and other opportunities for public input, is intended to determine the kinds of development that will be appropriate for downtown.

"The original Downtown Master Plan," says Planning Director Josh Campbell, "was one of the biggest factors in transforming Suwanee into what it is today. Hopefully, this update will have similar transformative effects. As the economy is picking up, we anticipate significant development opportunities over the next several years. Downtown Suwanee is by no means a finished product, and we're looking forward to broadly programming additional pedestrian-oriented, mixed uses in the area while respecting the character of what we already have."

In addition to considering specific development opportunities in the downtown area, the plan will focus on transportation, open space, and connectivity. The area in the study covers Town Center and Old Town and includes the entire Downtown Development Authority area.

Additional information is available on the Community/Downtown Master Plan page at suwanee.com.

February 5, 2015


Suwanee's Citizens Police Academy allows residents a better understanding of the day-to-day functions of police officers as well as an opportunity to patrol Suwanee's streets alongside an officer. The next academy will be offered Monday evenings March 9-May 11. Classes will be from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Suwanee Police Training Center, 2966 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

Notarized applications are due Friday, February 27. Guidelines and applications are available at suwanee.com.

The academy offers classroom training and hands-on experiences in crime scene processing, traffic stops, building searches, crime prevention, and narcotics identification and provides an understanding of the risks and responsibilities of officers. The program is designed to open and maintain communication between citizens and the police department.

Classes are free and open to the public, but space is limited and preference is given to Suwanee residents or those who work in the City of Suwanee. A criminal and driver history background is required for all applicants. For additional information, contact Theresa Miranda at tmiranda@suwanee.com or 770-904-7669.

February 4, 2015


A total of 48 events, including 19 runs/walks, six Food Truck Fridays, numerous traditional favorites, and several new events, are sprinkled throughout the City of Suwanee's 2015 calendar. Each event brings 300-55,000 participants to Town Center Park or other Suwanee locations.

New events include the Big Cheesy Festival on April 18, Chili Cook-Off on May 2, Melanoma Awareness event on May 31, and Alive! Expo on October 24. The full calendar of new and returning events is available on the What's New/Events page at suwanee.com.

Suwanee's very popular Food Truck Fridays are back the first Friday of the month April-October, with the exception of July. Also back are favorites such as Suwanee Beer Fest on March 14, Woofstock on May 9, Arts in the Park May 16, and Taste of Suwanee October 10.

Broadway in the Park returns to the Town Center stage July 24 and 25 with performances of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Suwanee Fest, Suwanee's two-day "celebration of community," will be September 19 and 20.

Here are a few changes to the 2015 Suwanee events calendar:

  • The Suwanee Farmers Market, which opens May 2, will be Saturdays only this year; there will be no Tuesday afternoon markets. The market will be open 8 am-noon Saturdays through October 3.
  • The Memorial Day weekend kick-off event is being reworked and tentatively will be rebranded as Red, White, Bluegrass & Bach.
  • All Movies under the Stars presentations – on June 6, July 18, and August 29 – will be double-features.

January 20, 2015


Create the winning logo for the 2015 Suwanee Fest and earn $500. The winning 2015 Suwanee Fest theme logo will be used on official festival t-shirts and marketing posters. The theme for the 2015 festival, to be celebrated September 19 and 20, is "For the love of Suwanee."

The competition is open to professional and amateur designers of all ages. Designs may be hand-drawn or computer-generated. Entries should be submitted in printed and electronic format. The deadline for submissions is May 1. See suwaneefest.com for additional guidelines and an entry form.

Suwanee Fest is the City of Suwanee's annual two-day fall celebration. The award-winning festival includes arts and crafts exhibitors, children's rides and activities, and on-stage entertainment. Last year, approximately 55,000 people attended the festival at Town Center Park. For more information, visit suwaneefest.com.

January 13, 2015


The season of fresh produce, lovely flowers, and yummy baked goods returns to Suwanee when the City's Farmers Market opens on Saturday, May 2. The market is in search of farmers, herb and flower growers, butchers, bakers, jams and soap makers, and others to participate in its 11th season.  Vendor applications are due March 30.

"The Suwanee Farmers Market has a loyal customer and farmer base," notes Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty. "Our market is almost as much a social event as it is an opportunity to access locally grown produce and a variety of other items, such as salsa, honey, eggs and meat, and baked goods."

The Suwanee Farmers Market does not accept arts and crafts, non-licensed products, or produce re-sold from other markets. Visit suwanee.com for additional guidelines and an application.

Vendors who have been part of the Suwanee Farmers Market for less than two years are required to attend the annual Farmers Market meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, March 30, at Suwanee City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue. In addition, all farmers may be subject to facility inspections by the market manager.

The Suwanee Farmers Market will be open from 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, May 2-October 3, at Town Center Park. The City of Suwanee will not host Tuesday markets this year.