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Corners Connector Trail System: Connecting Places Where People Live, Work, and Play



Corners Connector Renderings, from press release.

Peachtree Corners is fortunate to have amazing outdoor amenities we can all enjoy, such as the Chattahoochee River, federal and county parks, streams and a thick tree canopy. Everyone who enjoys being outside takes advantage of those areas of our community. The City intends to create even more of an advantage for our citizens by connecting these wonderful features together with its multi-use trail system, the Corners Connector.

The Corners Connector Trail System will one day consist of over 11 miles of trails that crisscross the city and provide connections to a variety of places people live, work and play. But to be successful, the trail system will need two essential elements: good locations and available funding. Here is an update on where we are on the Corners Connector Trail System.

Over the last six years, a number of location and feasibility studies have been completed that serve as the foundation of planning for the ultimate build-out of this trail. The Peachtree Corners Livable Centers Initiative, finished in February 2015 and funded by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), was one of the first projects that identified this ultimate trail system.

That project was followed later by studies for the Winters Chapel Road and Holcomb Bridge Road corridors. Later, the Comprehensive Transportation Plan, Innovation Hub Master Plan and the Innovative District Trails Study reinforced and further developed the idea of a master trail system in Peachtree Corners. Most recently, the ARC funded a study of feasibility on a specific segment and location of the Corners Connector along Crooked Creek from Spalding Drive east to Peachtree Parkway.

The Corners Connector Crooked Creek project is a long-range plan that will ultimately provide nearly three miles of trail at a cost of approximately $13 million. This project involves environmental permitting and procurement of easements, so the timeline is fairly lengthy.

In the shorter term, the City is pursuing federal funding for a segment of the trail from Peachtree Corners Circle to Peachtree Parkway, which is approximately 7,400 feet in length. The hope is to obtain funding for planning, engineering and construction of this segment as a first phase of the ultimate project that extends all the way to Spalding Drive.

The ultimate buildout of the Corners Connector is an exciting goal over the coming years, but some segments of the Connector have already been completed. Corners Connector Tech Park Lake was completed in 2020 and includes over 1,600 feet of trail around the lake adjacent to Technology Parkway and Technology Parkway South. This segment connects to over 4,300 feet of the Connector along Technology Parkway and Engineering Drive. Phase II of the Corners Connector around the lake is under planning and development now, and it will complete the circuit around the lake with an additional 2,600 feet of trail and provide an even greater amenity to those residents who live nearby and the office workers who enjoy direct access.

Corners Connector Town Center is under construction now. This project is directly adjacent to the recently completed pedestrian bridge over Peachtree Parkway and the Lazy Dog Restaurant. This trail will connect those areas to the eastern most portions of the Town Center and Town Green, along with connections to Peachtree Corners Circle and the development to the south of the stream. Stream connections and a boardwalk along the stream’s banks are included, along with a skywalk segment that will provide a bird’s eye view of the stream below. It will add 2,400 feet to the Corners Connector system, and with its connection to Peachtree Corners Circle, the system will then have a connection along Medlock Bridge Road and South Old Peachtree Road to existing multi-use trails in Duluth.

Corners Connector Engineering Trail is another segment under development. This portion of the system is proposed to connect Engineering Drive south to Woodhill Drive for approximately 4,900 feet of additional trail. An existing segment of the Corners Connector currently ends at Engineering Drive and Peachtree Parkway in front of the Corners Fine Wine & Spirits and RaceTrac, and this project will extend that trail infrastructure south to the Chick-fil-A area and its adjacent shopping centers.

The City is also in the planning and engineering phase of a segment of the Corners Connector along East Jones Bridge Road. This segment will connect Jones Bridge Park east to the existing multi-use trail along Peachtree Parkway. There is a narrow sidewalk along the shoulder of the road that will be enhanced to a 12’-14’ wide path to provide accommodations for more pedestrians and cyclists.

This project is part of the Chattahoochee Riverland, which includes a trail system that connects Newnan to the Buford Dam along the Chattahoochee River corridor (chattahoocheeriverlands.com). Our portion of the project along East Jones Bridge Road will be just over 9,200 feet long. We are excited to have a portion of such a large-scale project that will connect a number of jurisdictions to the remarkable Chattahoochee River amenity areas in the metro-Atlanta area.

A new opportunity for funding came to light recently when Congresswoman Carolyn Bordeaux held a press conference here at Jones Bridge Park recently to reveal her proposed national grant program to fund suburb greenway expansion.

The overa ll project called, FutureFit the Suburbs, has an initiative called the National & Regional Greenways Act, which would create a grant program to fund active transportation projects, including the construction and connection of national and regional greenways. This sounds promising and may offer an opportunity to have our tax dollars come back to our community! As you can see, exciting things are underway and already in place for Corners Connector, andmany more amazing additions are coming soon.

Stay safe,
Mayor Mike Mason

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Rooted Interiors Unveils Largest Transformation Project Yet for a Family in Need



Grandfather's bedroom before and after // photos courtesy of Rooted Interiors

Rooted Interiors, a new non-profit organization dedicated to transforming lives through design, has announced the completion of its largest transformation project to date.

With a commitment to providing complete interiors to individuals and families emerging from homelessness, Rooted Interiors continues to make a profound impact on communities, one home at a time.

The latest project marks a significant milestone for Rooted Interiors as it demonstrates the organization’s unwavering dedication to creating havens where families can plant roots and thrive.

Through meticulous planning, collaboration and the support of generous donors and volunteers, Rooted Interiors has successfully transformed a once hopeless space into a warm and welcoming home for a deserving family.

At the heart of this project is a single mother, accompanied by her two children and her father, who found themselves in dire circumstances after the mother fled from an abusive partner, forcing them to seek refuge at the Family Promise shelter in Athens, Ga.

Upon securing a new home, however, their relief was short-lived as they found themselves in a space devoid of warmth and lacking the essentials of a home.

With no furniture besides a dining room table, no washer and dryer and a malfunctioning fridge, their daily struggles persisted for three long months.

But Rooted Interiors didn’t just redesign the family’s space, they filled it with love and hope.

Through this project, the organization transformed the family’s house into a sanctuary, addressing not only their physical needs but also their emotional well-being. From carefully selected furniture to thoughtful décor choices, every detail was curated to create a space that felt like home.

“We are thrilled to unveil our latest project, which represents our continued commitment to serving those in need,” said Kristina McCalla, Founder and Executive Director of Rooted Interiors.

“Our Rooted in Renewal Program not only revitalizes physical spaces but also renews hope and stability for the family who calls this house their home,” she added.

Rooted Interiors offers a lifeline to families in need, empowering them to thrive and succeed in their journey towards independence.

“This journey is not just about creating aesthetically pleasing interiors; it’s about using the language of design to uplift and restore,” said Kristina McCalla, also Lead Interior Designer at Rooted Interiors.

“Rooted in faith and love, each project is a testament to the belief that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, deserves a place that reflects their humanity and worth. By providing a thoughtfully designed and fully furnished home, we aim to empower families to thrive and succeed in their journey towards independence,” she explained.

As Rooted Interiors continues its mission to fully furnish homes for those emerging from homelessness, this project serves as a testament to the organization’s impact and the generosity of its supporters.

Through ongoing partnerships and community engagement, the organization remains committed to building brighter futures for individuals and families in need. For more information about Rooted Interiors and how you can support their mission, visit rootedinteriors.org.

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BRACK: Peachtree Corners to lose Peterbrooke Chocolatier



Scottt Gottuso and Geoffrey Wilson.
Scottt Gottuso and Geoffrey Wilson. Photo provided.

Peachtree Corners will soon lose one of its most iconic, popular and tasty businesses.

Peterbrooke Chocolatier, run by Geoffrey Wilson and Scott Gottuso, has been told by Peachtree Forum landlords, North American Properties and Nuveen Real Estate, that its lease will not be renewed. The last day of business will be July 25.

Meanwhile, Peachtree Forum is getting several new stores. They include Kendra Scott, Sucre, and The NOW Massage. Previously announced were Alloy Personal Training, Cookie Fix, Gallery Anderson Smith, Giulia, Lovesac, Nando’s Peri-Peri and Stretchlab. Wilson adds: “We are not in their big picture.”

Wilson has operated Peterbrooke at the Peachtree Forum for 14 years and Gottuso has been there nine years. They have made the chocolatier profitable and doubled sales. Wilson says: “We turned it around through community involvement and made relationships. We worked with the schools, gave donations, did a lot in the community, and made a difference. We produce most everything we sell in the shop, so it’s labor intensive. We make European-style chocolate treats from scratch from the very best ingredients, package it, make gift baskets, and also sell a lot of gelato.”

Key items include truffles, hand-made caramels, cherry cordials, chocolate-covered cookies and pretzels and strawberries hand-dipped in their own blend of chocolates. (They are all good!) One of Wilson’s and Gottuso’s most iconic products is chocolate popcorn. Once you try it, regular popcorn is tasteless. “We sell a lot of it.” Wilson adds: “Gelato sales have carried us in the summertime, since there are not many chocolate holidays in the summer.”

Peterbrooke now has five employees, and would like to have 10, but it is difficult to hire people with the skills in chocolatiering. A key part of its business is corporate companies, such as Delta Air Lines and Capital Insight. The Peachtree Corners’ Peterbrooke has corporate customers as far away as Cleveland, Ohio.

The operators were surprised when the Forum owners did not renew its five year lease. “The big decisions were made in Charlotte or Cincinnati, not locally,” Wilson feels. “We were no longer in their big picture. They want new and glitzy, shiny, fancy and trendy.”

The operators plan to start their own chocolate company, to be called “Scoffrey,” and initially sell online, plus have pop-up locations during holidays, and possibly have a booth in other merchants’ stores on occasions.

“Whatever we do would look different. We might rent a space somewhere close by so that people can still have the good chocolate experience with us, but we won’t have a regular audience walking by.”

Another element: the price of chocolate futures has spiked this year, with a bad crop production year. Wilson says: “That is key to our business and a huge cost increase. That doesn’t help.”

Wilson adds that the forced closing of the Peterbrooke location “is something like the death of a friend. But you go to the funeral and to the wake, and in six months or a year, It won’t be so bad.”

Have a comment?  Send to: elliott@elliottbrack

Written by Elliott Brack

This material is presented with permission from Elliott Brack’s GwinnettForum, an online site published Tuesdays and Fridays. To become better informed about Gwinnett, subscribe (at no cost) at GwinnettForum

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The Transformative Trail: Dr. Sunit Singhal’s Journey to Wellness



The highest peak in Tanzania also known as the “roof of Africa" // Photos courtesy of Dr. Sunit Singhal

For more than two decades, Dr. Sunit Singhal has been a member of the Peachtree Corners community. In February 2001, he opened Suburban Medical Center, making a significant contribution to community healthcare. Under his leadership, the medical center has expanded, notably by introducing Suburban Med Spa next door.

A 1988 graduate of the University College of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, Dr. Singhal furthered his expertise in the United States, completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Harlem Hospital Center in New York.

An awakening at the Grand Canyon

A few years ago, the 60-year-old physician had an eye-opening moment about his own health. Most of his life was spent being overweight, which he accepted and managed the best he could.

“It’s not a secret that I was overweight. Anyone could see it; it’s how I was my whole life,” said Dr. Singhal.

The pivotal moment for Dr. Singhal was his attempt to join friends on a hike at the Grand Canyon a few years back. Despite his determination, Dr. Singhal was unprepared for the hike’s demands.

“I thought, okay, I will meet my friends one-third of the way down the canyon from the opposite end. That way, I can keep up with them towards the end of the hike,” he shared.

The trek up Mount Kilimanjaro

Even starting much later, Dr. Singhal struggled greatly with the hike. He experienced knee pain, breathlessness, and exhaustion. His struggle not only slowed him down but also his friends, who had been hiking for an additional 12 hours before he joined them.

The ordeal ended in the middle of a cold night, leading to a physically taxing recovery period that left Dr. Singhal sore for days.

Despite the arduous experience at the Grand Canyon, Dr. Singhal didn’t retire his hiking boots. Feeling motivated to conquer the obstacle, he began walking long miles with friends to get into shape.

A few months later, the call of the canyon echoed again, and friends proposed a new challenge: hiking from the South Rim to the river and back. While less daunting than their previous endeavor, the task was intimidating.

“This time, I was able to make the hike without holding anyone back,” he shared. Dr. Singhal already saw the difference his efforts were making.

His triumphs over physical and mental barriers were clear and exciting. Dr. Singhal’s return to the canyon increased his resilience and personal growth.

Conquering Kilimanjaro: a test of determination

Following a series of hikes through the Grand Canyon as his health improved, Dr. Singhal and his hiking group set their sights on Mount Kilimanjaro. They regularly engaged in 10-mile hikes each week to prepare for the trek.

(left to right) Singhal, Kashish, Vani and Mahender Gupta.

“It was never on our minds to simply skip or cut the hike short because we didn’t feel like it that day,” Dr. Singhal said. Even family members occasionally joined, keeping pace with the senior group with varying success.

When the time arrived for their Kilimanjaro quest, they needed to identify the number of days their group would need to complete it.

“There are different levels you can choose for hikes. If you are very athletic, the 5-day hike is for you. It goes all the way up to 9 days if you need to go slowly,” Dr. Singhal explained.

The friends chose the six-day option. It seemed like a good balance of their confidence in their fitness coupled with a conservative approach. Yet, they completed the ascent in five days.

“We couldn’t believe we finished at such a quick pace. We weren’t straining ourselves to do it. It was the natural pace we wanted to go, and we finished with the group we viewed as the most fit and athletic.”

Mount Everest on the horizon

The hiking group isn’t resting on their laurels, though. The crew continues to meet and train for their next goal, climbing Mount Everest.

“There’s a lottery to be accepted to climb. We entered and are hoping to be selected for a hike this fall,” Dr. Singhal shared. When asked if he felt intimidated about this potential hike, he confidently replied, “No, not really.”

The team of friends will hear this summer if they are selected to climb.

Health and hope

Dr. Singhal’s health journey is the perfect example of the potential for change at any stage of life. It also highlights the importance of self-care, perseverance and pursuing one’s goals, regardless of the starting point.

His patients can rest easily. He isn’t walking away from his practice for the mountains full-time. Dr. Singhal is committed to his practice and patients. He firmly believes and displays that personal improvement and professional dedication can coexist harmoniously.

“I want my patients to know that I am equally dedicated to being here for them and their own health journeys.” When he’s not hitting the trails, Dr. Singhal can be found spending time with his family in Duluth or at his practice in Peachtree Corners.

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