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Peachtree Corners pedestrian bridge, budget and town center, with City Manager Brian Johnson [Podcast]



Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager

Join Rico Figliolini and Brian Johnson on this episode of Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager to hear about all of the exciting things coming to Peachtree Corners. Get updates on the Pedestrian Bridge, new businesses, and how the city is celebrating the High School Seniors of 2020.


[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:21] – New Adjustments
[00:05:43] – Summer Events and Reopening
[00:07:59] – Pedestrian Bridge
[00:12:29] – New Construction and Projects
[00:16:25] – Businesses Coming In
[00:17:21] – E-Scooter
[00:20:23] – Road Repairs
[00:24:54] – Online City Council
[00:31:25] – Celebrating the 2020 Seniors
[00:36:22] – Closing

“That trail got used a lot by a lot of people who use Town Green to exercise. So we went and put a bunch of exercise stations in that stretch of trail for people who were doing it. So if you want to do pull ups, push ups, sit ups, you know, dip bars… So if you haven’t been out there, and especially if you like to exercise, I would challenge you to go out there and look at some of those. It’s a pretty cool little area now. We’ll keep going. We’ll keep improving it as people tell us some things that we can do to improve.”

Brian Johnson

Podcast Transcription:

Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini of Peachtree Corners Life podcast. Thanks for joining us. It’s been a while, but this is the Prime Lunchtime with City Manager, Brian Johnson. Hey Brian.

Brian: [00:00:40] Hey Rico.

Rico: [00:00:41] Good to see you. Different background, love it. Some people are getting back to work, cities opening up a little bit. We’ve got a lot to talk about. So in this 30 minutes, we’re going to be talking a bit about the pedestrian bridge coming online. The class of 2020 video that the city inspired. Well, that is being done to celebrate the high school class of 2020 here in the city of Peachtree Corners, plus a bunch of other things dealing with the 2021 budget. The trails, town center, lots of stuff to go pack in 30 minutes. Stay with us. I just want to talk about our leading sponsor that makes all this possible, Peachtree Corners Magazine, the podcasts, and that is Hargray Fiber. I want to thank the for being a sponsor of these podcasts. They are a company located in the South here in Georgia. And every community they go into, they are part of that community being a significant portion of what goes on there. They do innovative solutions for small businesses as well as large businesses provide enterprise solutions for companies. And they, especially for companies that are working remotely, they actually provide free tools to be able to work remotely and collaborate online. So check them out HargrayFiber.com/business or HargrayFiber.com, and that’ll get you to where you’re going. Now, back to Brian. Brian, thanks for being with us here. So how has your COVID-19 since the last time we spoke, how has things been going with you and the city, your family in the room?

Brian: [00:02:21] Well, you know, family is no different than yours and others out there. We’re, you know, getting, getting along. You know, people in different phases of life have different, unique things happening at home. Well, you know, mine, I’ve got, you know, elementary and middle schoolers. And so there was that homeschooling component that mommy and daddy were, you know, having to supervise and that, that was unique. But that’s done, it’s summertime now. Right? And you know, now it’s really trying to transition, like a lot of parents are with trying to find things for their kids to do over the summer when there’s a shortage of, you know, camps. You know, there’s not as many camps that are going on and so there are going to be weeks in which there’s not anything to do. And you know, I know parents are struggling with how to keep the kids out of the house, off of technology, you know, out doing some things. So we’re no different than anybody else. We’re getting through it. City we think is, is doing well where, you know, with the exception of, like, the theaters which are still not authorized to be open. And you know, so Cinebistro is not, you know, and things like that. Pretty much all the businesses that made it through that shelter in place part are open to some degree. But it is taking a toll. Tuesday Morning nationally declared a chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday. And the initial list of stores that they’re looking to close, and it could change, but initially it looks like the one in Peachtree Corners could be one that closes. So, you know, we, as a city, you’re already getting our team looking at maybe if that is going to be the case, to backfill it with something. So we’re already reaching out to types of businesses that we think are a good fit for that location, that
store footprint, all that kind of stuff. So, but overall, I mean, I think, you know, we’re coming out relatively unscathed, at least right now compared to a lot of other cities.

Rico: [00:04:38] True. The more I’ve been out there driving around and shopping, even at like Ingles, and even though I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping, Instacart is really good, especially when you get the little free delivery coupon. But businesses are doing things, there’s a lot of businesses that are creating new ways of doing certain things. I mean, you got Nobel Fin giving away, you know, a hundred pounds of Rosemary dough to make your own focaccias or pizzas. And you’ve got other companies like Taqueria Del Mar I think was doing, you know, pay as you go or pay what you can. So there’s, there’s a lot of creativity going on. Even in the, even in the summer camp world, we put out a call to see what summer camps are going to be opening so that there will be a list in Peachtree Corners Magazine about that. About summer camps that are opening with certain restrictions and some of them that are doing like these virtual summer camps, like coding camps and stuff like that. But yeah. Yeah, it is challenging and changing.

Brian: [00:05:43] It’s going to be a different summer you know, in Peachtree Corners. Cause like for instance, if you have kids that are at the swimming, you know age, there’s not going to be, you know, swim season is not happening this summer. Camps, the typical camps are not happening this summer. Pools are opening a little bit late, you know, I know fields club not opening until June 1. So, you know, there was that Memorial day week is usually the weekend where most of these pools open, you know. And even the city, you know, we made a decision in abundance of caution to not have any events before July 4th until the July 10th weekend.

Rico: [00:06:27] July 10th weekend

Brian: [00:06:29] Right. So July 4th there will not be any city organized events. We’ve canceled all of the ones that were scheduled prior to that, but July 10th is when we’re looking at re-engage, reactivating the Town Green with organized city sponsored events. I actually think the very first event is going to be July 10th is a Friday. That Friday night is going to be, as it stands now, the introduction of our night farmer’s market, our night market. So you know, we feel like that’s an event that we can kind of start easing in and making sure that it’s not, you know, an unmanageable amount of people per se. And you know, at that point, we’ll take a look at things and we’re looking to still have some, you know, things like concerts and stuff out at the town green this summer.

Rico: [00:07:37] And it’s big enough actually, even if you sort of spread people out a little bit, it’s probably big enough to be able to do that. And I know for example, the Peachtree Corners festival has been postponed too, that’s going to go to the Fall, like we discussed earlier.

Brian: [00:07:51] Light Up the Corners has been pushed back to August 15th.

Rico: [00:07:59] And they haven’t, that’s not even finalized yet. They have plenty of time to wait and then finalize. The same way we have a list of Peachtree Corners events on town center that we’re going to print in the magazine, but with the caveat that, you know, you have to check with the city to make sure this is actually going to happen because things are changing. You don’t, we don’t know what’s going to happen over the next four to six weeks. But it’ll be good to have that, so we will have some of that info in the upcoming issue. That’ll be the beginning of June, that will be mailed. There are, there’s the bridge that span is actually going up you said this weekend, right?

Brian: [00:08:40] No, actually I was, it’s next weekend.

Rico: [00:08:42] Next weekend.

Brian: [00:08:43] So June 5th, 6th and 7th. So we’re going to close 141 underneath the bridge sometime the evening of June 5th, like 10:00 PM type of thing. You know where there’s no rush hour traffic, there’s no, you know, that kind of stuff. We’re going to close it that evening, that night, and keep it closed until like Sunday morning at like 3:00 AM I think is it’s going to be reopened. And so then the detour would be Peachtree Corners Circle to Medlocke, Medlocke back to 141. So it’s a short detour there. And the traffic or the, you know, roundabout that we put in there, you know to use to get.

Rico: [00:09:31] That’s phase one at this point?

Brian: [00:09:33] That, that’s correct.

Rico: [00:09:34] And then phase two is June 12th?

Brian: [00:09:38] That’s correct. That’s correct. And so the reason, and June 12th will only be one day, I believe. But the reason that we have to do that is because, so the next weekend, they’ve got to set the span in. It’s three sections. Two sections that attached to the two towers and then a middle section. And when you put the sections of steel together, I want to say it’s 72 massive bolts attach the two steel sections together, and then they got to pour the concrete in the span once it’s in. So that’s why next weekend it’s the full weekend. And then after that the span will be in, the concrete will have been poured and everything, but then they’ve got to go up and we’ve got to set the rails on the sides and they’re actual panels. So you can’t have a, Georgia DOT requires a fence of at least eight feet. That doesn’t allow you to throw objects off that essentially are bigger than the gap in a chain link fence. We didn’t want to put a chain link fence cause that wouldn’t look good. So what we did is we did some research and we kind of used the philosophy behind the screen, like you would see on a screen door, if you get up close to it, you can see all the little squares in it. But then when you get farther back, you can actually see through it. You know, it’s not quite as clear if it wasn’t there, but you can see through it.

Rico: [00:11:27] Right, right.

Brian: [00:11:28] So what we did is instead of putting chain link or a solid panel we took, it’s some sort of a fabricated, like thin aluminum sheet. You know that’s solid, but, and then we cut lots of holes in it. Up walking the span, the holes are all really close together. You can see out. But what it does when you’re driving on the road and looking from afar is it actually makes the holes make a pattern that shows the leaf from the tree on our logo.

Rico: [00:12:11] That’s cool.

Brian: [00:12:12] That’s what’s gotta be placed in the span the second weekend, and you have to hang it from the outside so they don’t want any cars underneath when they’re doing it.

Rico: [00:12:20] Right. And it’s going to say Peachtree Corners on it.

Brian: [00:12:22] And then there will be letters, channel letters in the middle. That’ll say Peachtree Corners on each side.

Rico: [00:12:29] All right, cool. So that’s happening soon. That’s happening June 4th starting off. So we’re gonna see the surprise. I suppose some of the spans actually sitting. Massive. Since we’re talking about town center has, is the work continuing on the, do you know, on the Uncle Jack’s?

Brian: [00:12:50] Yes.

Rico: [00:12:51] That’s continuing on there, right?

Brian: [00:12:53] Uncle Jack’s is you know, going until they’re done. I want to say, I’ve heard that, cause there’s a lot of interior stuff with commercial grade hoods and everything. That August is when they’re looking to be done.

Rico: [00:13:09] That sounds almost right. Cause originally I think it was like end of June, beginning of July, but with all this COVID-19 and everything going on, that makes sense.

Brian: [00:13:18] That’s close. The exterior with the exception of doors and windows and everything is starting to get close to where you’re like, okay, that’s, you know, most of the point you’re going to see, but that’s still going on. And then we made a bunch of improvements and used this period of time as an opportunity to make some upgrades ourselves without interfering with things. So, for instance, the stage at the town green. We had been, we had heard from the residents that attend events that it wasn’t high enough. And so after the first concert, we started having to rent a stage so that we could elevate it. So what we did is we went ahead and we built a permanent elevated stage out of some really nice stained wood. And so now we won’t have to rent anything and it’s permanently elevated from right over top of the poured concrete one that was part of the original. And then actually we made it a little bit bigger. So the, whoever’s
performing can be a little bit out side of the covering if they want. It looks great if you haven’t seen it. We also stained all of the deck underneath the, you know, covered areas by the restaurants. We have a second playground structure that has just been installed and is out there. And then the trail that we initially cut, just solely for the purposes of people walking from the town green through the woods towards DaVinci core and Peachtre Corners circle where they were parking. That trail got used a lot by a lot of people who use Town Green to exercise. So we went and put a bunch of exercise stations in that stretch of trail for people who were doing it. So if you want to do pull ups, push ups, sit ups, you know, dip bars. We’ve got monkey bars to practice things. We’ve got a climbing wall for you to have to run up and get over. In other words, it’s got a lot of obstacle course type of stuff. People who want to use it for to either get in shape or maybe to practice some of the things that you see in some of those races like Spartan race and Tough Mudder and things like that. So if you haven’t been out there, and especially if you like to exercise, I would challenge you to go out there and look at some of those. It’s a pretty cool little area now. And, you know, we’ll keep going. We’ll keep improving it as people tell us some things that we can do to improve. Oh, and the last thing is new lights out there. You know at night on the sidewalk, that rings the town green, had lighting over it. When we do the night market, farmer’s market at night, it’ll be lit inside the town green, much brighter than it was last year.

Rico: [00:16:25] A lot of stuff going on at town center. That’s amazing. And more businesses opening, I saw… Will be open soon if it’s not already.

Brian: [00:16:34] It’s not quite, but it’s like within the next couple of weeks.

Rico: [00:16:37] Right. So there’s things going on there. Across the way, even though Tuesday Morning may close a Lidl Market open.

Brian: [00:16:46] Lidl has filled the former Earthfare space. So Lidl is in, it’s open. And so I, you know, encourage somebody to go out. It’s a boutique grocery store. It’s unique. So it’s not, you know, so I don’t want somebody to think like, Oh, well it’s the same as all of them. No, it has its own unique type of thing. And so, you know, I mean, grocery store shopping is a very personal thing, as we all know. So I leave it up to individuals, but we’re excited that the space got filled.

Rico: [00:17:21] Yeah, it’s, there’s a lot more, even office spaces that are being filled. I’ve noticed I’ve been getting more releases about commercial space that are filling in like through a Summit Parkway. Some businesses went in there. There’s a bunch of places that are actually beginning to fill in a little bit. So it’s good to see that businesses are coming back. Atlanta Tech Park is reopened, so we’re seeing more of that going on. We are seeing, I don’t want to miss like the E-Scooter sort of soft opening of that launch where people can go now at Technology Park, pick up an E-Scooter. If you have an app and ride around within Technology Park. Maybe go up to Anderbees maybe go visit a business, maybe go up to the hotel area and then leave it there and it drives back, right?

Brian: [00:18:12] Yep, that’s correct. And not just drives back. It can drive to the docking station where it can get disinfected too. And so, you know, it’s just, I’m glad you brought that up. It’s just, again, another example of what Curiosity Lab is doing. This was the world’s first unveiling and offering to the public of a teleoperated E-Scooter and so, you know, little old Peachtree Corners was able to get the first teleoperated E-Scooter deployment. A hundred scooters that can be moved around, including being summoned like an Uber from teleoperators that are in Mexico City, Mexico.

Rico: [00:19:00] Now this is free of charge? Or are there charges?

Brian: [00:19:03] Now, you know, you have to download an app. It’s just like Lime and you know, all the other scooters. However, for first time users, I want to say they give you a $10 initial credit to get on there. And then afterwards it’s like if you’re doing it by, you know, by time versus by, I think you can do it half a day, a full day, unlimited or by the minute. I think it’s 25 cents a minute. After you go through the initial. So again, I just challenged somebody to do it even if it’s just for, you know, just curiosity’s sake, just to come out here and get on it and try it out. Look at the technology. This may be how E-Scooters are redeployed, you know, in other cities around the world in the near future.

Rico: [00:19:56] No, things are changing, it’s amazing. Olie is not running anymore?

Brian: [00:20:01] Not right now. Yeah, they’ve got a 2.0 that they’re considering bringing back, but their initial version, they got all the testing that they needed to do here. And so they went, you know, had it go back and they, but they have come up with a version 2.0 and you know, there’s talk about bringing it out here and seeing how it works on in the real world also.

Rico: [00:20:23] Alright, cool. The other part of what you guys are doing, what the city’s doing is because of this, because COVID-19 had lots of people off the road. Everyone knows gas pricing is down to what, a 1.69 a gallon depending where you go. People are not driving around as much, although it’s, it is beginning to pick up now where it was 30 minutes to go Downtown or Midtown that’s taking like 40, 45 minutes. So traffic is starting to do, getting back to normal. No, we would talk about new normal. I was hoping wouldn’t be as normal. So, but you guys have been able to take advantage of being able to move up the schedule and some things like street resurfacing.

Brian: [00:21:09] So our budget is set to get approved at our June meeting because our fiscal year starts July 1. And a couple of highlights might be, one, our overall general fund. Just out of an abundance of caution, we went ahead and cut 11 in, almost 12% of our budget because we just, there were some revenue streams that we just were not confident would come in. Just because we don’t know enough. We don’t know what it’s going to do. This, you know, Coronavirus, this pandemic is going to do over the course of the next 12 months. So we cut our revenue estimates down 12%.

Rico: [00:21:52] Because the, the city operates on a, think of it as a cash flow right? You can’t go in debt necessarily.

Brian: [00:22:00] Right. Cities, counties, and the state, and have to operate on a balanced budget, annual balance budget. So we cut our revenue projections by 12%, which means our expenditures have to meet or fall below the revenue. We cut our budget already. You know, our hope is, is it doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t come in any worse. And so we’ve already prepared for it. But there’s also some aspects of our budget we took advantage of. You just mentioned gas prices. Well, asphalt is a petroleum based product. It is not only that, but then there are some paving companies that are hungrier right now than maybe they normally would be. Even though in Metro Atlanta, a lot of the paving companies are tied up in the Georgia 400-285 interchange, there’s a massive amount of concrete asphalt going in there. But we are taking advantage of some pricing. So we increased our annual allocation to resurfacing from 1.5 to 2 million and it’s currently out to bid for us to do that. So we’re going to re be resurfacing a few more streets than we normally would. And of course the way we do it is we have a condition assessment done on all of the streets in the city, and we bid it out by listing usually 10 sections of streets that are the 10 worst sections that need it. And then we have a company, you know, the winning bidder just starts paving until they run out of the money that we allocated and they work down the list. So sometimes depending on pricing, you could be, you know, number eight on the list and you get done. Sometimes other years, the cost is such that it doesn’t get to say number eight or number six or whatever. So we’ll see. But anyway, those are some of the highlights. The only other one of significant note would be we also were able to move up the trail system and section of trail system, our 11 mile interconnected trail system. We are moving up the section that connects to the pedestrian bridge on the town center side. And we’re going to put all of the trails that are down along or down in the Creek that’s between, you know, the old black Walnut restaurant and… And so we’re going to do that starting late this summer. So we’re going to, as soon as that pedestrian bridge is open, they’re going to immediately be connecting, constructing and connecting additional trail so you can walk down along it and down in it.

Rico: [00:24:54] That’s cool. So you know, obviously the city has been able to take advantage of certain things. But other things you had to reinvent sort of. Cisco WebEx, are you guys using Cisco WebEx? So I missed the last city council meeting this past Tuesday. You guys finished earlier than I than I thought. I was trying to log on. But so citizens are going to be able or have been able to actually watch city council sessions, being able to see the documentation being put up. I think or them being able to download them, and also to be able to put our questions even, even though they may be ahead of the meeting.

Brian: [00:25:34] No, we actually we’re able to do it to where you can either submit a question in writing right there by tapping in kind of the chat section. We would read it out loud so that everybody knew what it was and then I or somebody would verbally answer it or we offered those who were, had logged in. They could just say, yes, they want to make a comment and we could then bring their camera and microphone up. They could actually virtually address council, and so yes, we were able to do that. I mean, you know, it looks easy. It does take a lot of
moving parts to get it done. Yes, we’ve, we’ve had to learn how to do, just like everybody else, what we’re doing right now virtually because we can’t do it in person right now.

Rico: [00:26:31] Well, and the good part is that I think it democratizes it better, right? Government that maybe I can’t leave my place, maybe I’m wheelchair bound, or maybe I just can’t leave to be able to make that meeting and sit there for three hours and it gives me the opportunity to watch it. Well, maybe I’m doing some work or streaming something. We’ll be able to make comments, like you said, public comments. Is actually open to more people probably than it might otherwise not have been. Do you think, now lots of cities have been sort of getting there slowly. I know from a reporter I was speaking to recently that Sandy Springs, who’s holding back did not want to do it, but finally had to do it because of COVID-19 and they will probably continue doing it. Do you see the city of Peachtree Corners doing that? Like even after we get past this. This bit of stuff that we’re going on. Do you still think that it will be live streamed even if you hold the meetings in the chamber?

Brian: [00:27:27] Well, potentially. I mean the chamber is a different setup. I mean, so now when it comes to, you know, being able to interact and post things remotely, it’s a much bigger room. I mean, cause so remember when we did this, council wasn’t even at city hall.

Rico: [00:27:46] Right, right. That’s right. That’s right.

Brian: [00:27:48] The few of us that were in the main conference room here, which where we do our work sessions. But it’s a smaller room and there were, you know, council wasn’t there. And so we are looking at it, but it’s just, it’s not current. It’s not set up right this second to be able to provide all of the stuff that we did when we have been having these meetings remotely, just because council will be physically at the building and will be, need to be in a much bigger room. Got people sitting. Even then you’re going to potentially have seats blocked off in such a way that you’re, you know, space different. And so people will be spaced out even more. And you know, it’s, so, it’s the logistics behind it are harder. But we are certainly looking to see if we can, you know, continue some aspect of this. In some way.

Rico: [00:28:41] I don’t see that it could be as integrated as if doing a zoom meeting, which is what Cisco WebEx is like, right? But certainly streaming live, even if the people can’t see the documentation, I mean. They could always download from a link. I mean, you know, you can’t be perfect.

Brian: [00:28:59] Yeah, that’s true. Now again, the difference is streaming live versus taping it and making it available. The only thing you gain if you, if it’s streamed live, is the ability to maybe make a comment in real time on something that’s going on. What you lose is the ability to watch it at your convenience. And so that’s why oftentimes we tape it, and then if you can turn it around quickly. Like 24 hours later, it’s up. Then for days or weeks, somebody can watch the meeting at their convenience versus having to reserve a Tuesday night at 7:00 PM Oh I can’t do
something because council meetings coming on and it’s streamed live. That’s the only thing you know.

Rico: [00:29:54] I get that there’s pros and cons. It’s funny, the way for, I mean, and it is a larger, it’s a chamber. It’s a whole different ball game, there’s different, variables you have to deal with. I know that when we do our podcasts and with Facebook live streaming, it’s livestreamed and then it stays on Facebook. The way that we do it, the way that I do it with lower, with all the graphics on it, I mean, I can become more interactive with the graphics and actually. You know, we could have shown video, we could’ve shown pictures of town center. You know, if I had planned it out and had the budget to do that, like a big TV, I could be able to show those slides and stuff. But you know, in time things will happen, I guess. You know, I don’t want people to forget also that the, especially with businesses, every business knows this. I guess July 1st is, is now the due date for business license fees, which was postponed from April or March, I think.

Brian: [00:30:51] March.

Rico: [00:30:52] March. So it’s been a while. So that’s part of your cash flow and that’s going to be coming back at some point too, it’s after, you know, by July 1st that’ll be coming back.

Brian: [00:31:00] And we’re still, I don’t want to sit here and say that we’re on a case by case basis. There may still be some exceptions if somebody can lay out a case, make a case for themselves, you know? So you know, in general, that’s when everybody is due. But there are, there could be extenuating circumstances where on a case by case basis, we change from that too.

Rico: [00:31:25] Sure. And before we end I just wanted to say that the city has gotten behind this whole big thing, class of 2020. It’s a sad thing obviously, to have kids that was supposed to graduate, have holiday parties, have graduation parties. None of that is happening, or at least not virtually. I mean, not in real life, not in real, it’s happening virtually, that people are doing zoom parties and the graduation parade by using cars as a parade and stuff, which is kind of neat. A little different, certainly not the same way that everyone else has been doing it prior to this, but the city is helping, producing a video, why don’t you tell us a little bit about that.

Brian: [00:32:11] So, you know, like you just said, we have all of these Peachtree Corners residents going to a lot of different schools around here. And we oftentimes think of, you know, the ones that come to mind immediately, like Norcross high and West Leanne, and, you know, some Duluth high and, you know, GAC. And, you know, Saint Pius, I mean, schools that are kind of within reach. But we’ve got a lot of seniors, high school seniors that live in Peachtree Corners that, like you said, aren’t going to have the proverbial graduation. So a long time resident of Peachtree Corners named Nancy Minor. Thought you know what? Maybe there’s something we could do to make our seniors in Peachtree Corners feel special. So she reached out to Mayor Mason and said, Hey, do you think that there’s some kind of a video thing that the city could do? And you know, really didn’t necessarily know what it would be, but just said, you
know, is there? So the mayor, you know, reached out to me and said, Hey, do you think we could do something special? And you know, we talked to the rest of council. They were hugely supportive of it. So I reached out to Titan pictures. He does some of the content for us. Jim Stone said, sure, we can do it. And, you know, let’s try to create a video that we at least give every graduating senior that wants an opportunity to show their picture and a little bit of, you know, pertinent information about them. Maybe we make it a little bit more interesting than just doing that by having some videos, some photos, some aerials of the city and some other special interest stories. And so we sent out, we contacted all the schools that have Peachtree Corners residents going there. And again, some of these schools are out there. I can’t even imagine the commute some of these students had to do to get there. But, and you know said, Hey, send us, you know, reach out to the parents that live in Peachtree Corners, tell them we’re doing this. And then they would get on our website and they could download a one page form with just some biographical information. Send us a picture. And then, you know, Judy Putnam, my communications director then kind of helped Jim organize it. They put it together and Jim put a really good, I mean, Titan pictures did a really good job of putting this together. We are going to go live with it at three o’clock this afternoon, which is, you know, Thursday. And, we’ll also have it playing on the big screen on the town green over the weekend. It’s 20 minutes long. So if you don’t have a senior, that’s a little bit, but it is interesting though to watch because it is interspersed with a lot of great scenery of Peachtree Corners and some pretty cool special interest stories of some of these students that are doing some pretty cool stuff. So I would encourage some people to at least watch it for a little while or watch part of it cause it’s pretty cool. And then Rico, you’ve been part of it too and are going to do your part through your magazine. That’ll recognize them too. So between our video, your, you know, magazine. I think we’ve, you know, we’ve done what we can to try to make these seniors feel special. Not all of the seniors participated. We didn’t get every senior to do this.

Rico: [00:35:52] No, but there was over 140.

Brian: [00:35:55] So, yeah. You know, we’re pleased. So we always appreciate residents both at like Nancy Minor, come up with ideas like this as people like you who support it. And then we got a lot of good people around to help us. And of course, Mayor and council being supportive of this kind of stuff is what, what happened. So I’m proud to say we did it and hopefully the seniors feel a little bit more special than they would without them.

Rico: [00:36:22] Yeah, that was a great video. I saw a first draft of it and I just got the link of the one that’s coming up at 3:00. Jim, Titan Pictures did a great job on it and just super job. I think people enjoy it. A lot of individual interviews also with some of the kids, so it was, he pulled it together really well, loved the music. He did the voiceover too, I believe on it, which was super, he has a great voice for that. I kept thinking, Disney, movie or something for some reason, like Disneyland or Disney World, a feature like that. But he did a good job. So I’m looking forward to seeing the final version. We’re at the end of our time. I think we covered quite a bit. You’re always very good about giving good information and putting out stuff that the city residents need to know. So I appreciate you doing that, spending that time with me once a month to be able to
do this. So for anyone that wants to find out more, you know, feel free to follow us on Instagram, Peachtree Corners Life. Pick up the magazine, you should be getting it in the mailbox the first or second week, first eight days in June. Every household in the city gets it so, should be, you should be having about 19,000 homes. And follow us on Facebook you get these live feeds, share this with your friends. If you’re listening to the podcast, just review it on Apple podcasts. We’ve had a bit of reviews there. So good stuff helps us bring us up in the search. And again, Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager is always good Brian.

Brian: [00:38:02] Thanks for giving us a venue to get information out to our citizens.

Rico: [00:38:08] The rest of you guys have a great weekend. Enjoy.

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City Government

Report an issue with the free Peachtree Corners Fix-it app



peachtree corners fix it app

It’s now easier than ever to report an local issue by using the free Peachtree Corners Fix-it app.

To Create a Report

  1. Select “Create” from the menu.
  2. Log in, create an account, or click “Create anonymously…”
  3. Click the box under “Select a Report Type” and select a type from the menu that appears at the bottom, then click “Done”.
  4. Under “Where is the problem” click the map; set the location by entering an address in the search box or by clicking the location on the map, then click “Done”.
  5. Click in the box under “Tell us more details” to answer additional questions and/or enter a description of the problem. Please include the address.
  6. Under “Add photos, video, or audio” click the paper clip icon to upload a file.
  7. Click “SUBMIT”.

To View the Status of a Report

  1. Select “View” from the menu.
  2. Select an item from the list, or click the map icon at the far right to see all reported issues on a map.
  3. Click a flag on the map, then click the status box to see details of the report.

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January 2021- Message from Mayor Mike Mason



mayor mike mason

Looking Ahead to a New Year

2020 was tough. Who thought we would face a pandemic that virtually turned our lives upside
down? On one thing we all agree: we’re happy to say good riddance to 2020! The new year
brings us hope with the release of the COVID-19 vaccine. We eagerly await news from the
Georgia Department of Health on when and where the vaccines will be available and will pass
along that information as soon as we can.

Despite the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, the City accomplished quite a bit in 2020. We continued our efforts to keep you safe with the addition of 25 video cameras with license plate readers (installation to be completed in the first quarter of this year). For pedestrian safety, a bridge that carries walkers, joggers, and cyclists over Peachtree Parkway (S.R. 141) opened last fall. The bridge is part of the Corners Connector trail system that, when complete, will connect residents to shops, restaurants, and businesses around an 11.5-mile multi-use trail. In August we opened a new section of the trail that skirts Technology Lake in Tech Park. The scenic path winds along the lake’s shore and will eventually encircle the entire lake.

On the business front, the city processed over 370 new business license applications in 2020. Additionally, CarMax announced an expansion last spring adding 200 additional positions at its location on Peachtree Parkway, and Soliant Health, a health care recruiting company, relocated to Tech Park bringing an additional 400 new jobs to our city.

In the fall, we were able to provide CARES Act funding to a number of small businesses that struggled to keep their doors open since the coronavirus struck. The city dispersed $2.66 million in small business assistance grants to 118 local businesses.

Additionally, at its December meeting, the council appointed board members to the city’s new
Redevelopment Authority, that will provide renewed focus on reinvigorating the Holcomb
Bridge corridor and other areas of the city. The Authority can plan, administer, and implement
redevelopment and community improvement projects, as well as aid in identifying and obtaining public funding for industrial, commercial, or residential improvements or expansion projects. The Authority brings new tools which, we hope, will bring developers interested in investing in this highly visible and important gateway of our city.

The Authority board is made up entirely of Peachtree Corners residents who have broad backgrounds such as attorneys, real estate professionals, educators, and engineers. The members come from all geographic areas of the city and include men and women of different races. Councilmember Phil Sadd and Mayor Pro Tem Weare Gratwick will serve as ex-officio non-voting members.

Some of you have asked why much of the city’s initial redevelopment efforts began with the
Tech Park and Town Center area instead of the Holcomb Bridge corridor. With respect to Tech Park, it is important to understand its role as the economic driver for our city which supports the quality of life and high home property values we all appreciate. When the city was founded in 2012, however, some of its anchor businesses had relocated to newer technology parks in the surrounding metro area and the office vacancy rate was skyrocketing. By focusing our efforts on re-invigorating Tech Park, it re-established our city as the technology hub that Paul Duke envisioned some 40 years ago.

The development of Town Center is a similar story of necessity reprioritizing your best intentions. The city had only been established for about 10 months, when news that the 21-acre property across from The Forum was destined to be a 263-garden style apartment development. I can tell you, buying this land had not even been on our radar when the news came out that this undeveloped property in a prime location had been sold to an apartment developer. If we had not acted swiftly and purchased this tract, none of us would be strolling along the Town Center sidewalks to take in the shops, restaurants, and outdoor concerts we’ve all come to enjoy.

When we became a city just a little over eight years ago, our first thought was to focus on reinvigorating the Holcomb Bridge corridor. However, the situations we faced required us to redirect our efforts. Now with Tech Park and the Town Center well underway, we are now eager to take full advantage of the tools that our new Redevelopment Authority has at its disposal to identify residential, recreational, business, commercial and industrial areas that may benefit from reimagined uses which will enhance the quality of life for each of us who call Peachtree Corners home.

Happy New Year, wishing you a safe and healthy 2021
Mike Mason, Mayor

Source: City of Peachtree Corners

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City Government

Tiffany P. Porter Takes Office as Gwinnett Tax Commissioner



Tiffany Porter

Tiffany P. Porter assumed the Office of the Tax Commissioner for Gwinnett County effective today, the first African American to do so in the county’s history.

Porter campaigned on a platform of bringing a new type of leadership to Gwinnet that builds upon the legacy of past leaders.

“I’m honored that voters put their faith and trust in me,” Porter said. “I believe in civic duty and promise to serve all Gwinnett residents to the best of my ability.”

Prior to being elected tax commissioner, Porter served as the first African American judge in Duluth Municipal Court and had founded two law firms. In addition to serving on the bench and practicing law, Porter appears weekly as a legal analyst for the Court TV network.

Porter has a law degree from Emory University and was admitted in 2009 to the State Bar of Georgia. She also earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from Georgia State University and a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, where she graduated with honors.

A 20-year resident of Gwinnett County and the mother of four, Porter is the first in her family to attend college and the first to earn a law degree. She is a 19-year member of Life Church International in Duluth, a 20-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and a proud two-time breast cancer survivor.

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