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Capital projects delivery: Improving infrastructure and quality of life

The number of capital projects now under construction by your County government tells me Gwinnett County’s future is bright!

Charlotte J. Nash

In September, we finally broke ground for a long-awaited new police precinct on Ozora Road adjacent to Bay Creek Park near Loganville. The new facility will also include a backup 911 Call Center in case the main center in Lawrenceville becomes unusable for any reason.

Meanwhile, firefighters opened a new, relocated and expanded Fire Station 15 at 199 Scenic Highway in Lawrenceville. They responded to their first call from the new station on September 20 at 7:55 a.m. The old station across from the Lawrenceville Lawn has been demolished. That site will soon become a Bicentennial Plaza as a legacy of our 200th birthday celebration taking place this year. An improved Bicentennial Trail connects it to the Justice and Administration Center nearby.

Those two new buildings join a long list of public safety facilities built with pennies raised by various voter-approved SPLOST one-cent sales tax programs. SPLOST has also funded recent expansions that are underway at Graves Park and Alexander Park and a renovation at the Norcross Senior Center. And, more SPLOST projects are in the planning stages so stay tuned for more exciting announcements over the next year.

Since 1985, County voters have wisely chosen to invest in judicial and public safety facilities, roads, parks, and other public assets through a series of SPLOST programs which have raised approximately $3.3 billion for capital improvements. Using pay-as-you-go financing as much as possible has minimized long-term debt and saved us all more than $1.5 billion in financing costs compared to issuing bonds.

Gwinnett residents will vote on a major transportation referendum next spring that will determine the future of transit options throughout Gwinnett. If approved, Gwinnett County, through a contractual arrangement with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, will then embark on implementing the transit projects laid out in our Connect Gwinnett Transit Plan. The first phase of the plan involves a major expansion of our existing bus service, with other modes of transit, including bus rapid transit and a heavy rail connection to the Doraville station, to follow. To help pay for it, there would be a penny sales tax dedicated to transit.

Gwinnett transportation planners are also continuing to maintain and expand our network of roads throughout the county. One recent example is road improvements on Club Drive in the Meadowcreek school cluster. Another is widening Pleasant Hill Road from the Chattahoochee River to McClure Bridge Road. Commissioners approved both of these construction contracts last month and both are funded at least partially by SPLOST.

Another exciting project about to be built, though not with SPLOST funds, is a new Water Innovation Center for research and education on state-of-the-art water-related technology. Gwinnett has become a world leader through the many innovations in place at our F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center. The new center will leverage our current position to keep us on the cutting edge of new technologies as they are developed and tested.

As we look back on Gwinnett County’s progress over the past 200 years during our year-long Bicentennial Celebration this year, we are also looking forward to planning and building the necessary infrastructure that will make Gwinnett an even better place to live, work, play, and raise a family in the decades ahead.