In her sixth annual State of the County speech (read the text or watch the video), Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash reflected on present-day accomplishments but also looked ahead 24 years to imagine Gwinnett County in 2040.
The surprisingly warm day outside the Infinite Energy Center matched her mood inside as Nash painted a picture of the future for Gwinnett’s many main streets of the county in her speech on Thursday. Her vision included a thriving entertainment district centered on Satellite Boulevard at Sugarloaf Parkway, an international business hub at Gwinnett Place, and the next Hollywood along Jimmy Carter Boulevard.
She also spoke of water industry innovations springing from the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center, biomedical innovations in the U.S. Highway 78 corridor, and university-connected research and development along State Route 316.
Gwinnett’s many cities are already developing vibrant gathering places, notably Lilburn’s efforts to revitalize its downtown and U.S. Highway 29 corridor and Lawrenceville’s progress toward becoming a college town as Georgia Gwinnett College continues to grow.
Nash said, “We want to have areas in the County that appeal to all age groups and that offer attractive locations for businesses of all sizes and types. As we create the future, however, we can’t neglect the needs of today. We have to keep the fundamentals of Gwinnett’s success strong and relevant every day.” She outlined what she called basic building blocks of a successful community including schools, public safety, water, transportation, parks, greenspace and libraries.
She thanked Gwinnett voters for “three decades of support for SPLOST” programs that “helped ensure that success continues to live here.” Video showing dozens of SPLOST-funded road improvements, fire stations, police precincts, parks, greenspace and libraries filled two large screens before the speech.
Gwinnett’s “437 square miles of ideally positioned geography” provide “the room and resources to cultivate residential and commercial areas that can suit a wide variety of needs and tastes,” she said.
Nash praised County employees for their dedicated service to Gwinnett’s 900,000 residents and 26,000 businesses, adding that “in 2015, they answered more than 800,000 911 calls, produced and delivered 25 billion gallons of clean water, responded to about 550,000 calls for police help, hosted millions of park visits, and handled nearly 56,000 medical emergencies.”
“We have to keep improving, evolving and pushing forward as our environment changes,” she said. “The decisions we make today affect tomorrow’s Gwinnett. We have to continue dreaming dreams about tomorrow and what can be accomplished.”
The State of the County address will be available for viewing on Friday, February 19 at 8:00pm on TVgwinnett, which is accessible online, on demand, and on the government access cable channels of Charter, Comcast, and AT&T- U-verse.
Images from the event may be accessed from Flickr and the SPLOST Legacy video may viewed on Vimeo.