Twenty-one years ago, many of us were excited that the 1996 Summer Olympics tennis venue was in Gwinnett County at the edge of Stone Mountain Park. After Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport both won gold that summer, the tennis stadium began a decades-long downward slide that eluded all attempts at revitalization.
Officials at the Evermore Community Improvement District recognized the venue sat in a prime location at the gateway to Gwinnett right on U.S. 78. The Board of Commissioners was also concerned about the poor condition of the stadium and the negative impression created by the abandoned site surrounded by chain link fencing.
The solution was an innovative land swap last October. Gwinnett County bought 35 acres adjacent to the park’s golf course in DeKalb County and traded it in exchange for the 24-acre tennis site at 5525 Bermuda Road. It’s just one example of how creative thinking is driving economic development and helping create new jobs for Gwinnett’s steadily growing population.
The stadium will be torn down this summer to make the site viable for private development. Our ultimate goal is for the property to generate tax revenue, provide jobs, and create a far more attractive entrance to southern Gwinnett County.
Another example of innovative thinking is the Venture Drive Overlay District near our first shopping mall, Gwinnett Place. New zoning and regulations are now in place there to encourage high-quality redevelopment. We’re also working closely with the Gwinnett Place CID to create conditions to attract office and residential developments that will contribute to a dynamic, urban atmosphere in the heart of Gwinnett.
Explore Gwinnett is taking a similar approach to building out the area around our evolving Infinite Energy Center to help attract more visitors, larger meetings and trade shows, and more sports and entertainment options. And the new Sugarloaf CID is already partnering with the County to study transportation improvements and trail connections.
Forty years ago, a wave of development was sweeping over Gwinnett County so fast we could hardly keep up. Now, we have the luxury of guiding our redevelopment with strategic planning, solid infrastructure, and a clear vision of how to improve the overall quality of life for everyone who lives, works, or plays in Gwinnett.
I am pleased to be accompanying you on this journey and welcome your suggestions on how to grow the future success of our home, Gwinnett County. Stay tuned for updates.