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Preparing for the next 100 years

I have always been a big believer in long-range planning. It works for individuals as well as for the government. Where do you want to be in five years? Ten years? What do you need to make that happen? What can you do now to start moving in that direction?

Charlotte Nash, Chairman Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners

Focusing on the future is what my fellow commissioners and I are doing now, and I urge all Gwinnett residents to do the same. We’ve all been dealing with economic recession since the housing crisis hit in 2008. Cutting back. Scrimping and saving. Not doing things we needed to do because we simply couldn’t afford it.

I’m confident that this will be a better year. Home foreclosures have already dropped dramatically. Construction is starting up. Employers are hiring again. Our economic development efforts are bringing new investments into our local economy. 

In my annual State of the County speech in January, I reminded everyone that Gwinnett will celebrate its bicentennial in December 2018. While we should certainly plan a spectacular celebration, I believe it is even more important that we prepare Gwinnett County for a successful third century. Just as we benefit every day from decisions made by past leaders, the lives of future Gwinnett residents depend upon our decisions and actions.  

Our plans should be aimed at Gwinnett continuing to set the standard for a thriving community – and it’s going to take all of us working together to make this a reality. 

I’ll admit that planning for 100 years is a little intimidating. We can’t be certain what we’ll face over the next decade much less predict what life may be like in 2068 or the year 3000. Settlers founded what is now Gwinnett County when it was still the frontier. People traveled by wagon across hundreds of miles from Savannah or Charleston or Baltimore with only one certainty: opportunity. 

And that’s what we need to ensure for those who will live and work in Gwinnett in the future – opportunity to get a good education… to earn a good living… to live in a safe, vibrant, and attractive community… to build a business… to be involved… and to have available services and amenities for a well-rounded life.

As is always the case in real life, there are a few challenges that must be addressed. The district commissioners and I understand that the stakes are high, but we’re eager to do our part to ensure that Gwinnett’s future is bright. And we’re optimistic because there is every reason to be. Gwinnett has all the factors needed for success, as well as a special advantage. We have Gwinnettians.

I am unabashedly a fan of Gwinnett County and believe that anything can be accomplished here. We pull together for the common good, and people constantly amaze me with their willingness to commit time and energy to making our community a better place. For example, county residents spent more than one million hours in 2013 as volunteers across all segments of Gwinnett County government. Through Engage Gwinnett, we set a goal of achieving one million volunteer hours annually by 2015, but our community blasted through that goal two years early!

We’re counting on that kind of enthusiastic participation as we work to make sure that Gwinnett is successful in its next 100 years. Will you join us?

Note: You can watch Chairman Nash’s entire State of the County address or read the speech at