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An awakening Grayson

By Jennifer Cox and Staff

With a little over 2800 residents who live within the city limits of Grayson, one could think that Grayson is a very small town.
Starling Elementary shares cupcakes with Mayor Allison Wilkerson (holding cupcakes) earlier this  year in celebration of Giving Hunger the Boot

Considered to those that live here the Best Kept Secret – the secret has been out for quite awhile. While Grayson City limits population may be small, the community that supports it is quite large and with a huge heart for community support.

Grayson is considered home to 15,876 students and their families. The Grayson School Cluster has 8,406 students and the Archer School Cluster has 7,470 students. (Source: GCPS 8/31/15)

Grayson High School is located in Loganville (30052) and Archer High School is located in Lawrenceville (30045) and their supporting clusters both feed a vibrant Grayson community life and business community.  Grayson and its surrounding population within zip codes 30017 (Grayson), 30052 (Loganville Gwinnett portion), and 30045 (Sugarloaf Pkwy area to the Archer High School/Tribble Mill area) is 57,149. (Source US Census 2010 & Gwinnett County Government).

The CIty of Grayson’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan adopted and approved in 2009 to create a downtown Grayson
Above: The CIty of Grayson’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan can be viewed at

Grayson is comprised of 93% soccer moms. The relative peace of Grayson’s affluent, family-oriented neighborhood in the outer suburbs provides welcome relief from our hectic jobs, long commutes, and busy lives with growing children. Any minute we save is critical, so we’re fans of convenience such as banking and shopping online and housekeeping services. We’re involved in sports and outdoor activities such as jogging, biking, golf, and boating… (Source Esri, provided by the City of Grayson)

“We think it describes Grayson pretty well,” says Gail Lane, Grayson’s Community Development Director.

Mayor Allison Wilkerson, in conjunction with City Council members and Grayson’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA), have begun implementing their Grayson 2030 Comprehensive Plan submitted by the City of Grayson several years ago and adopted by the DDA. “Some parts of the plan are truly not realistic… and some we have begun,” says Mayor Allison Wilkerson. One very exciting component of the 2030 Plan is an Ampivilion to be located by Grayson Park and across from Grayson Elementary. Grayson will soon be unveiling a rendering. See the 2030 Comprehensive Plan for location.

Also coming in 2016 will be a road intersection improvement at Grayson Pkwy (Hwy 84) and Rosebud Rd. Originally slated on the 2030 Plan to be a roundabout and will now be an enhanced 4-way intersection with turn lanes on Hwy 84 both right and left and left hand turn lanes only coming off Rosebud Rd in both directions at Hwy 84.  Currently there are 12,700 vehicles that cross this intersection on an average daily basis (source: Georgia Dept of Transportation). “Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2016 with a 6-9 month project timeline, and GDOT has already staked some of the construction easements,” says Mayor Allison Wilkerson.

Future plans include closing Park Drive in Grayson Park which generates cut through traffic from Grayson Pkwy to Rosebud Rd. “Parents won’t have to worry about traffic and children will be able to ride bikes in the park on Park Dr. A parking lot will come when the Ampivilion is built. We are hoping to have it all finished by our Blues & Brews event next year,” says Mayor Wilkerson. A new parking lot will be built to the right of Grayson City Hall.

In 2015, the City of Grayson completed the following projects with grant monies from several sources: Safe Routes to School Grant – $218,745.27 – Sidewalks on Herring Road and Pine Grove Avenue; GATEway Grant – $46,400.00 – Median Landscaping;

Transportation Enhancement Grant – $368,000 – Clock tower and passive park at Highway 20 and Rosebud Road.

“For Grayson residents the mean travel time to work is 32.4 minutes. “A separate report pulled by the SBDC shows that the largest percentage of our residents in 2011 (12.2%) left Grayson to work in Lawrenceville. Another 4% work in Snellville and the Number 3 work destination of Grayson’s residents is the city of Atlanta with 3.6%. Only 2.3% of Grayson’s citizens work within the city limits,” says Gail Lane.

It’s no surprise with the large population supporting the Grayson community that the City of Grayson is looking to create an Uptown City Center and expand commercial development which primarily can be seen on the 2030 Plan down Grayson Pkwy radiating from the City Park. 

In 2015 Grayson is home to 44 Home Based Businesses and 166 Commercial Businesses in the city limits (Total 210). There are 23 restaurants – including fast food, carryout, ice cream/yogurt shops, and dine-in. To date, 135 Residential Construction Permits have been issued for this year. (Source: City of Grayson)

“When we asked the SBDC for a Retail Gap report several years ago, it reflected that Grayson was underserved in every sector except for jewelry (Grayson Jewelers) and personalized paper and products (Southern Sisters). It was eye-opening to review this evidence and recognize that indeed, we could shape our economic landscape in the direction that we felt best represented what our citizens might want,” says Gail Lane.

“Grayson is a blank slate and is considered underdeveloped,” says both Gail Lane and Mayor Allison Wilkerson. “We are looking for our hub to be our City Park, that’s what bring families out. If we can find some additional restaurants, shopping, and activities that would be great; we are looking for ideas,” says Mayor Allison Wilkerson.

The City of Grayson recently purchased the old Post Office on Grayson Hwy (20) close to the intersection of Hwy 84. “Our job is to protect our businesses and this is a great starting point for additional developments. It will provide additional parking for businesses and the building itself will be used for storage. The ultimate goal is to do like Duluth and let developers come to us with ideas and choose what we want. I see development continuing along Grayson Hwy (20),” says Mayor Wilkerson. 

The 2030 Comp Plan – Uptown Conceptual Plan includes commercial and mixed development being extended from the intersection of Grayson Hwy and Grayson Pkwy (Hwy 84) to the Library on both sides. “Development will grow around Grayson Elementary and will stay if I have anything to do with it. The development towards the library (on Hwy 84) is a blank slate but we would like to see more offices, boutique style stores, more dining, and housing projects. We are looking for people and want to start a conversation,” says Mayor Allison Wilkerson.

The City of Grayson and DDA are currently working with Gwinnett County to bring sewer to Grayson Industrial Pkwy. This will further enhance development.

The City of Grayson is currently working with Gwinnett County Commissioners and particularly Commissioner Tommy Hunter who represents much of the Grayson area. Regarding the County approval of the large mixed use development on Loganville Hwy (20), “There were several conditions placed on the upcoming development on Hwy 20 that we requested, we have a great working relationship with the county,” says Mayor Wilkerson. Mayor Wilkerson is President of the Gwinnett Municipal Association. 

Many For Sale signs have popped up on land parcels on several of the major corridors. One of the most visible companies representing landowners is Rodney Camren with Star Team Atlanta, Keller Williams. 

“I feel the best kept secret for Gwinnett County truly is Grayson, Georgia.  When you look at all the factors for this community, they have it all.  The schools are high ranking and gaining ground with the principals’ leadership to be the #1 school district in the county.  The elected leaders and volunteers work hard together to make their town a live, work, play community where greater things are to come. The small shops and restaurants have that small town charm where everyone is well known. Housing is new with beautiful floor plans and integrity that make them more saleable.  This is a community where all generations and diversities are welcome and included.  I love being able to help the families in Grayson whether they are buying or selling.  I cannot say enough to my clients, which come from all over the globe, about this hometown community,” says local real estate agent Rodney Camren who represents many properties in the City of Grayson and surrounding areas. Rodney can be reached at for information regarding properties in Grayson. 

“Whether you live or work in Grayson, we want you to feel apart of Grayson and you are always welcome,” says Mayor Allison Wilkerson. 

2015 Commercial Chart For Grayson Properties