Welcome 2022 with a First Day Hike
This New Year’s Day, join our park rangers for an inspiring First Day Hike. More than 40 guided treks let you connect with nature, friends and family. Outings range from a kid-friendly stroll through Mistletoe State Park’s campground, a three-mile hike through Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” and even a night hike at Reed Bingham State Park. (Some are even dog friendly.) Find the perfect First Day Hike for you. Want incentive to keep hiking? Join our Canyon Climbers Club quest.
Explore More in 2022
Where will your boots take you in 2022? Our newly published “Guide to Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites” is available in park offices or by calling 770-389-7286. The booklet is filled with ideas for spring break, romantic retreats, weekend outings and summer vacations. Do you visit often? Save money with an Annual ParkPass ($50) that provides parking at more than 40 state parks, plus the Historic Site Pass ($25 – $50) that covers admission fees at 15 sites.
Prescribed Burns Benefit Ecosystems
You’ve heard “good fires prevent bad ones,” but do you know how experts plan for them? Our latest blog post examines what goes into using prescribed burns to restore and protect Georgia’s ecosystems. Experts use prescribed fires to stimulate the growth of herbaceous plants like wildflowers and grasses, which are the foundation of a healthy wildlife ecosystem. Wildflowers are crucial for pollinators like moths, butterflies and bees, and their health has impacts up to the largest animals, such as bears and deer.
George T. Bagby State Park
Good news, campers! George T. Bagby State Park in southwest Georgia is now operated by the Department of Natural Resources. To best serve guests, plans are underway to replace the lodge with traditional state park amenities such as camping. Cottages and the group shelter will be improved as well. Visit soon to enjoy a meal in the restaurant, play a round at Meadow Links Golf Course, and go fishing and boating on Lake Walter F. George.
Meet the Farm Animals, General Coffee State Park, Douglas – Fridays and Saturdays in January
Eye Spy Scavenger Hunt, F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain – Saturdays in January
Colonial Medicine, Fort King George Historic Site, Darien – January 2, 16, 22 and 30
Archery Class, Magnolia Springs State Park, Millen – January 8 and 22
Movie Night, Laura S. Walker State Park, Waycross – January 21
Living With Bears, Smithgall Woods State Park, Helen – January 22
Find more happenings on GaStateParks.org.
Look Who’s in the News
Northwest Georgia News – Georgia Parks, Historic Sites Offer Inspiring Adventures to Kick Off the New Year
Southern Living — The Best Stargazing Spots in the South
WSB TV Atlanta — White Christmas, cozy stays, holiday hikes on tap at state’s best kept secret
365 Atlanta Traveler — Gift the outdoors: Georgia State Parks Holiday Gift Guide
MSN Travel — Jaw Dropping spots to park your RV
LoveExploring.com — Your state’s most beautiful natural wonder
Fortune Magazine’s Best Place to Live for Families in Georgia, Dog Park, City Marshall [Podcast]
Host Rico Figliolini dives deep into the progress and future plans of Peachtree Corners, a city focused on providing its residents with an exceptional quality of life. Joined by City Manager Brian Johnson, they discuss the city’s recent recognition as the best place for families to live in Georgia, the establishment of a City Marshal system, the development of policies and procedures, and the expansion of the trail system. With a commitment to progress, collaboration with the private sector, and a dedication to fostering connectivity and recreational opportunities, Peachtree Corners is truly a city on the rise. Tune in to this podcast to learn more about the exciting developments and plans for this vibrant city.
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:03:46] – Fortune Magazine Ranking Peachtree Corners
[00:10:20] – City Development Plans and Projects
[00:14:22] – The City Marshal System
[00:24:16] – Park Development and Pickleball
[00:28:22] – Trail System and Dog Park
[00:39:41] – Closing
Rico Figliolini 0:00:00
Hi, everyone. This is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life and today, Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager. Hey, Brian, thanks for joining me.
Brian Johnson 0:00:09
How are you?
Rico Figliolini 0:00:10
Good. I hope you’re doing well going into the 4th of July weekend. Before we get started, though, let me just say thank you to my corporate sponsors that support us and the things that we do both in print and on digital. So Eli from EV Remodeling here based in Peachtree Corners and who lives in Peachtree Corners, supports us every day and the things that we do and the journalism that we put out on our magazines as well as now digital work. EV Remodeling, great place to if you’re looking to remodel either a small kitchen or a whole house remodel, they’re the ones to look at. You should go to Evremodelinginc.com, check out the site. They do great work. So don’t let that put you off, because the great work, some people look at it and say, I don’t know if I can afford that, but trust me, he does a great job and he’s at a reasonable place to be. So check him out. Our second lead sponsor is Clearwave Fiber. Clearwave does business, internet as well as home. They just came on about a month ago. And they’re good corporate sponsor of ours supporting the things that we do. And they’ve been a sponsor of, for example, the Criterion Road Race that just recently happened here in Peachtree Corners, and they’re a good supporter of the community. You should check them out. There’ll be a link in our profile. So go there and find out more about them and what they can do for you and your business or for your home. Check them out. So now Brian just learning so much that’s going on, there’s so much in the news. I just want to put it out there about one thing for sure in that everyone’s been like, because it’s been 24/7 coverage, that Ocean Gate expedition that’s been out there, that imploded, that’s been covered for everywhere from TikTok to CNN on a 24 hours basis. I did not know that one of the five guys on board that vessel was Paul-Henri, if I’m pronouncing this correct, Nargeolet. A longtime expert on Titanic and a member of the Em group that’s based out of Peachtree Corners. And that group actually puts these exhibitions I’ve been to, like the Titanic exhibition and the Bodies exhibition. They put those on. If anyone has seen those, they’re based right here in Peachtree Corners. Just amazing how much stuff is here that we don’t know.
Brian Johnson 0:02:26
It is kind of cool to sometimes uncover hidden gems in a city that you oftentimes, especially if you’ve been here for a while, be like, yeah, I know Peachtree Corners. I pretty much know all of the significant corporate tenants or entertainment opportunities or recreational locations, and every now and then something comes up and you’re like, wow.
Rico Figliolini 0:02:51
And sad too. In this particular case, for sure, someone’s been lost like that. But to know that a company like that actually is based out of our city of 45,000 people is really interesting.
Brian Johnson 0:03:04
The only company that has rights to Titanic artifacts for them to actually recover artifacts from the site. So, yeah, significant role they have.
Rico Figliolini 0:03:16
Yeah, and they just pulled up some of the wreckage actually just this past 24, 48 hours, I think.
Brian Johnson 0:03:22
Rico Figliolini 0:03:25
So I thought I’d bring that up. But the other thing is, I just saw this pop up on Google Alerts to me about, I guess it was about a week ago, and that was Fortune magazine. Through all they do, decided that Peacefree Corners is the best place for families to live in the state of Georgia. I think we’re in the top 50.
Brian Johnson 0:03:46
Of their picks, 19 in the country.
Rico Figliolini 0:03:48
19. I don’t even know if they reached out to the city at all to do any or if they did their own research. And that’s how they found us.
Brian Johnson 0:03:59
We were as surprised when it came out as anybody, so they did not communicate with us. If you read the article, they go into depth as to the data metrics and sources of data that they pulled from. And it’s important because sometimes you see a lot of these lists, and you could probably argue that in some cases there may be a little bit of subjectivity in some cases, but generally these lists, especially since this wasn’t a list where we were notified, we didn’t provide any information, there wasn’t a voting process. We literally had no idea. They tried to drive it based on data from everything from the Census Bureau to Johns Hopkins database on Thing. I mean, there was a long list of data sources, governmental or otherwise. But at the end of the day, there were a few communities that you might see in some of these lists that were eliminated. Because they did. Eliminate communities that had a median home income that was so high that it was considered not a good place for a family to go because it wasn’t cost prohibitive. And then there were a few communities and this is nationally, not just in Georgia, but a few communities removed that did not have a level of diversity that was outside of a band. So if you had some communities that were so homogeneous, one area, not just two, all white or all black or all Brian, any community that had too much homogeneous population numbers, they wanted ones that were, again, for families of all kinds.
Rico Figliolini 0:06:02
Brian Johnson 0:06:02
And then at that point, beyond those communities removed, their metric were around with families, you have lots of needs. You have housing needs. So are there diversity of housing options and pricing levels and size, which we obviously made, diversity of entertainment and recreational opportunities, but the quality and diversity of offerings for schools because families have kids. And you may want private school, you may want public, you may want whatever diversity of jobs, whether service based manufacturing, industry, commercial, blue collar, white collar, whatever. They want diversity of jobs and quality of jobs and then quality of health care because there’s obviously families from having younger kids to need it to also they talked about the fact that many families have parents of adult children that are needed to come back to live with them or you move them close to you because you’ve got a little.
Rico Figliolini 0:07:18
Bit of that going on. Sure.
Brian Johnson 0:07:21
So that was a metric that was considered, and even technology and the ability to have high speed internet access as you’ve got more work from home or virtual classroom or whatever. So all of those were taken into consideration, and they said that, look, when it comes to all of that, we’re a great place to live because we don’t control all of it. Sometimes we only have influence, some influence of varying degrees. We don’t control the school systems. We do have certain roads in the city that are state routes, and they’re managed by the state. We don’t control all the parks in the city and all the youth sports programs, but we certainly do things to help support them. And as a result, we’ve got a diversity of all of those things, from people to jobs to housing, health care. And they on the phone decided that we’re the best in Georgia and the 19th best in the country.
Rico Figliolini 0:08:35
I mean, Fortune magazine is a well read not publication even at this point, but well read news site. I mean, it’s been around for a long time, but for sure I think anyone that objectively looks at this city and all the things that’s being done and planned for and the way it’s being done we have no military on property, so people talk about, well, how can we afford to do certain things? Well, there’s sploss, there’s government grants. I mean, just alone, you mentioned earlier before we started the show, about a $1.2 million grant that’s being used. I think that was federal funds that’s coming in for environmental study and design for the Crooked Creek aspect of our trail system. So, I mean, the city is working in a very smart way. You, your team, the mayor, and the city council have really led the things that are being done here really well and intelligently coming into the right place. I was just to share with some of the listeners, obviously, the feasibility study that’s being done right now for the Pickable possible pickable, court center, private public partnership. You all are doing outreach. I was at one of those meetings one morning with the special group that’s charged with doing the feasibility study. I was impressed by the information they brought about, about the discussion. Even the mayor was there. Two city council people, a couple of residents, myself, a couple of other people, that are actually involved in pickleball the Putnams. So just that one meeting alone to find information out about just that aspect of what’s going on. Yeah, I mean, every city tries to do their stuff, right?
Rico Figliolini 0:10:20
Sugar Hill has a really big, beautiful theater that recently built. I mean, done the great job there. Every city has sort of an iconic thing that they do or path they want to go on. I know the city would love to do an art center art theater at some point. I know the mayor has spoken about.
Brian Johnson 0:10:37
That multi use of some sort. Right?
Rico Figliolini 0:10:41
Yeah. I’m not surprised that Fortune magazine would think that we are a great place for family to live. But it’s still surprising even still because there’s so many cities and towns out there.
Brian Johnson 0:10:52
There are reading the list. There were a lot of cities, I would say most of them I know of. I think Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Harvard is located, was the number one city. Denver, Colorado, was one of the choices in there. So it was everything from smallish cities to meet size all the way up to the big ones like Denver were on the list. And so, yeah, it makes you feel good, especially when we didn’t have anything to do with it and it happened organically. And it’s kind of like when somebody tells you you’re doing a good job. You didn’t ask to say, am I doing a good job or not? They say it they just out of the blue say, I see how you’re doing. You’re doing a good job. Keep up the good work. Kind of how this was. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We are certainly not perfect. We have areas that we can improve.
Brian Johnson 0:11:49
We strive to do that every single day. Sure. But it is nice every now and then to be like some of the fruits of our labor have paid off at the point where people are recognizing.
Rico Figliolini 0:12:02
I know that you all are always under pressure. People are always thinking, what did you do for me lately? We’ve discussed this before about how people sometimes look at things and they think that they’re the center of the universe at that particular moment, and they want you to stand that and have you attend to their needs at that very particular moment. So, yeah, all those things are, I’m sure, drive some of this as far as feeling good about what you’re doing, knowing that you’ve done some good stuff.
Brian Johnson 0:12:40
And as a city government, our job is to provide services to our customers, which are our citizens here, in the form of making sure that they have a great safe place to conduct themselves, whether it’s live, work, learn and play, to make sure the roads are in good condition. Technology is there if they need it. Again, it’s safe. Commerce can happen in a seamless manner without a lot of bureaucracy. And when things are important, to somebody in the grand scheme of things I sometimes am like really? Do you really expect us to drop what we’re doing for that? But to some people, we try to really remove ourselves from that and say, look, if things are important to people only through the lens in which they look at it and there could be a dead deer on the side of the road and somebody’s all up in arms and somebody’s like, well, Public Works will get to a can. But to the person whose dead deer might be literally in their front yard, they’ve got to drive past it or their kids are going to walk to the bus stop from there. Whatever. It’s a big deal. We try to put that into perspective and make sure that we provide that and then beyond. Our role is to get out of the way and not be a government that’s all up into everybody’s business and taking a lot of money from them and deciding how to spend it. And it appears that that’s a good format for us to be a local government.
Rico Figliolini 0:14:22
So getting a bit into that even because nothing stops. Everything keeps moving along. I know we’ve spoken time and again on these podcasts about City Marshall system, for example, but it is a process and it just doesn’t start like that, even with the votes you guys recently took. Because you have to change a few things, add some ordinances, and set the legal operations of it up before your team can actually hire and set up. So I’m thin from our conversation before, ahead of the show that probably two city marshals will probably start somewhere around July 27 or so. But you do have to set up a bunch of things and we’ve discussed this before, where squad cars, where people live even. So you have to make sure that there’s affordable places for your hires to be able to live at also, I guess. Are you helping in that regard?
Brian Johnson 0:15:17
Yeah. If you think about it, what was on the city council agenda earlier this week is going to be the beginning of probably a continual stream of ordinances or policy adoptions that are going to be going on for the next six months. Because here we are standing a department that’s never existed. Here it is a department that is a very sensitive department in that policies that you have to regulate people who have by virtue of being post certified like all police officers have to be have the authority to do things like take away people’s civil liberties and that is a sacred thing. And so there’s lots of policies that have to be put in place as to how they’re going to conduct themselves, how they’re going to communicate intergovernmental agreements with Gwynette County PD down to what is going to be our use of force policy, high speed pursuit. Are we going to have them concentrate on area A or Area z or all these kind of things. You got equipment purchases, you’ve got all those kind of things. So it is a big it’s a major muscle movement, and we’re going to do it methodically. And they are being employed to fill a gap in between where code enforcement no longer has the authority and where Gwynette County PD, given that it is a county asset, there are certain things that they’re unable to do inside our city limits because we’re a home rule municipality. And so the marshals are going to fill this gap, but they’re not going to be out. They’re not going to be running radar on the roads to get tickets. They’re not going to be doing yeah.
Rico Figliolini 0:17:31
We talked about that.
Brian Johnson 0:17:31
How calls for service. Yeah. They’re not answering 911 calls. I mean, Gwinnett County Police out of west precinct is still our police department. Now that are going to be able to do some things and concentrate on some areas that Gwynette County PD either ant or doesn’t have the resources, given their personnel, staffing challenges they don’t have. And we’re going to be able to fill that gap yeah.
Rico Figliolini 0:17:59
For people to understand. We do have an intergovernmental agreement with Gwinnett County for a certain amount of, I guess, coverage and of police officers in the area during a period of time. I don’t know the details if that’s actually handled that way, but whatever service level we have is not going to change. We’re just augmenting with City marshall to do other things that, like you said, Winnett county can’t do because of resources they choose not to do because of lack of resources like enforcement, code enforcement.
Brian Johnson 0:18:32
Correct. And a good example of where this might come in handy, that it’s important to us and not to say it’s not important with FPD, but it would be something that they may just have said, hey, we just don’t have the manpower to do. It would be the challenge we’re having. When Norcross High School is in session with students, cutting class and walking through the woods into the rear parking lots of some of our businesses that border the back of Norcross High. We’re working on a number of things to resolve it, but having a patrol during certain hours, just the President’s patrol to kind of let the kids know, hey, there’s somebody here Gwynette just doesn’t have the manpower to do because they’re just responding to calls for service through 911 and other things. But it’s important to us. And so this is going to give the city the opportunity that when it’s more of a call, it ground level versus 30,000 foot level of importance. We’re going to be able to say, hey, I want one of you to be patrolling between, say, 930 and noon for a few mornings, because that tends to be when the kids are cutting class and they can do it because that’s an asset we control. If they do catch some kids doing something, they are going to have the authority to detain them, to turn them over to their parents or the school, or if it’s worse than just trespassing, even over to and they’re over 18 years old. It could be turning them over to Gwynette PD because they were caught in the commission of a Felonious crime. But an asset we will now have. That Gwynette just is like, look, we’re not saying it’s not important, but we have calls for service that are more important. And so those are the kind of things that we can do.
Rico Figliolini 0:20:27
Cool that’s out of existing operating funds and stuff like that. So that adding. There’s no talk of a millage rate to cover that. Move on. Let’s move on quickly to the feasibility study that’s going to be almost finished, I guess in the few weeks on that pickleball feasibility study. And then how long before they actually give a report back to the city?
Brian Johnson 0:20:51
Oh, probably actually only in a few more weeks. And they’re really going to provide, call it a scope of a pickleball facility that would fit three different categories. Essentially. One would be what size facility would it take for us to create a pickleball facility that was essentially only oriented to meeting the needs of ongoing league play? USTA or what is it, pickleball association of America, whatever kind of league play, just the ongoing stuff. That’s the kind of the lower level. Then the middle level would be what size facility would we need to be facilitating the construction of for us to be in the running for regional weekend tournaments that would be like ones big enough for the Southeast, not necessarily the national ones because that one so that’s the middle one. And then the top tier, which would probably only happen if we partner with say, a lifetime or a fields club or both and have them transition tennis courts into pickleball and we would make a submittal to the national association for a national tournament. But that would be what size do we need to do to compete at that level. And that’s the level where you’re competing against facilities in places like Florida and Arizona, even Southern California that are really getting into some big scale, 50 courts. That’s going to probably take partnership, but at least we’ll know. So we’re going to know the three levels of facility size. It would be for us to get a pickleball facility with a private partner and maybe use it as an economic development tool, whether it’s to enhance an area. Of the city that’s got a lot of activity or it’s a redevelopment opportunity to go and put it in an area of the city that could see a little bit of a shot of adrenaline in the arm. So this will give us what that is and then we’ll take that scope and we’ll start looking at specific areas, start maybe talking to potential private partners who may want to be involved in the construction and operation of this.
Brian Johnson 0:23:32
Our intent is not to be the sole funding source to construct it, nor do I want to be involved in operating a facility.
Rico Figliolini 0:23:43
Brian Johnson 0:23:43
Plenty of time happens. Cities and counties run them all the prime, but it just gets into creep of size, of government. I would prefer to like, we’ve done other services.
Rico Figliolini 0:23:58
It’s not like we have a parks department or wanting to create one. Like, Duluth has a parks department. That’s a whole different animal being budgeting that and taking care of your own park system. And we don’t need to do that. Right. Because Gwynette county has some beautiful parks right here in peace tree corners, and they take care of it.
Brian Johnson 0:24:16
Correct. The decision was made. Rightly. So back in the day that we happen to have Gwynette county happened to have constructed and operated a lot of parks in our area before we became a city. And even though after we became a city and you drew a circle around our city limits, those parks were now inside our city limits.
Rico Figliolini 0:24:38
Brian Johnson 0:24:39
County was doing just fine operating it. People still get to use it. It’s not like you all of a sudden couldn’t do it. So Pinkneyville park and Jones mill or excuse me, jones bridge park and Simpson wood and places like that, holcomb bridge park. And why would we need to do stand up our own additional ones when we already have absolutely. The stance that we’re taking here, too.
Rico Figliolini 0:25:05
Which is good, I think, based on what the consultants were saying originally, I think they were saying, like, something like this, once it’s decided, could take anywhere from 18 months to three years to develop. But they also agreed that based, I think, on a couple of city council people there also agreed that that’s way too long and that probably it could be done in a lot less time. We’re talking about maybe within a year. Even so, it’s good because you don’t want to be planning something three years out and then all of a sudden something else shows up during those three years. But good to see some city council people are willing to move faster.
Brian Johnson 0:25:44
They recognize there’s a little bit of an arms race going on with a ball and which one can get to the finish line first with something that’s drawing activity. And that would probably not necessarily definitively, but probably result in others backing off. Like if Dunwoody built a big facility just outside of our city, I doubt we’re going to want to do that because we’re like we’re fighting for the same crowd. It’s not going to be as utilized. There’s a little bit of a race to see if we can get to a certain level first. Yeah, I believe that we could potentially move a lot quicker if we find some good private partners in a good location. Do it.
Rico Figliolini 0:26:29
Yeah. I know you guys went on a tour sort of the city to different locations to see what could be used. Even at that same meeting, the mayor, because we can multitask, we can’t chew gum and walk at the same time. He also said that just because we’re doing this doesn’t mean that an art center or multi use center like that can also be in the plans. Of course, stuff like that take longer. I mean, just thinking about what Sugar Hill did with their theater, which I think holds about 400 people, they have balconies, they have a 20 x 40 foot stage with workshops there to build their sets. I mean, people don’t even think about those things. They think, why can’t we just put up a theater? There’s a lot that goes into that.
Brian Johnson 0:27:14
Well, we could, but to do so results in things like that kind of stuff takes money. And some governments have high millage rates and the government takes a lot of money from the citizens. Now it turns around and it puts it back into the community. But what that does do is that then means that that government is making some decisions with some money that could have been left into all of its citizens. So we could certainly do that, millage rates, but instead we would prefer to be facilitator. Maybe there’s some resources from the city that go into it, hopefully just one time to get things inject some lubricant in the process. But the more we can outsource and let the private sector run and not us, the longer we can go without a millage rate.
Rico Figliolini 0:28:13
Brian Johnson 0:28:14
Or even one day if we ever had one, it remains low and it’s not really high. And so that’s our goal. Yeah.
Rico Figliolini 0:28:22
Makes sense. I think that’s what the citizens want. Absolutely. That’s the other thing we can talk about is that the trail system, which when fully developed, we talked about this being it’s going to end up being like 24 miles running through the city when it’s fully done in this project. Some of the revitalization redevelopment work being done on the south side, if you will, on Holcomb Bridge Road and stuff. I know that there’s been some property acquisitions happening to be able to end up putting trailheads to expand the trail system through Crooked Creek and parts of Petrie Corner Circle down out of Peach Tree corner Circles, maybe. Is that what we want to call it?
Brian Johnson 0:29:09
Yeah. So the section of Petrie Corner Circle in between Holcomb Bridge and Petrie Industrial Boulevard, which, by the way, I don’t know if you saw in the city council meeting last night. Council authorized me, at a request of the state, the section of what we call PIB from our city limits with Doraville all the way up to the split that is going to be renamed just Peachtree Boulevard. Just like Doraville and Shambley did south of us.
Rico Figliolini 0:29:44
Brian Johnson 0:29:45
Years ago, Doraville said, look, PIB is not the industrial doesn’t have the industrial component to it like it did. We don’t like having that. And so they went through the process of just dropping the industrial. So all of that section of 141 that’s in Shambley, all of it is in Dorville, all the way up to our city limits is just Peachtree Boulevard. Well, the state is finally going to is in the process of making the signs that you see that are above 141, as you’re getting right before the split, that if you see it, you can barely read the letters now at night, heading north into the city. For five years, six years now, our public Works department director has been pushing to say it needs a change. And George Dot was like, we’re going to put it in a list of other cities and we’re going to do it all at once. And there were other reasons. But anyway, they’re finally ready to make them and they reached out. One of the state transportation board members reached out to us and said, hey, they’re making it. Do you guys want to go ahead and have that section change to just Peachy Boulevard? And so Council was like, sure. So mind you, that’ll be to the point where you have the split. And of course when you get the split, if you stay to the left, which is what 141 does, the state route stays to the left. That then becomes Peacetree Parkway.
Brian Johnson 0:31:16
And so State Route 141 will no longer have any industrial name to it. If you stay to the right, that then gets into County Maintained Road inside either US either Norcross or Berkeley Lake. And it goes back and forth as you head north. That’s a different process. There are more businesses on that section. Other governmental entities are involved. I don’t know if that will ever happen, but that would be more discussion. But at least in this case, while you’re on State Route 141, at some point before too long, there will not be an industrial as part of that name.
Rico Figliolini 0:31:58
So they’ll actually replace the signs at some point. So then you can read it.
Brian Johnson 0:32:02
That’s correct. So that sign, when it’s replaced, so you can read it Petri Industrial Boulevard anymore, it’ll just be Petri Boulevard.
Rico Figliolini 0:32:10
That’s terrific because every time I pass that sign, I’m like, we’ve redone our signs and everything. It looks so bad.
Brian Johnson 0:32:17
Rico Figliolini 0:32:18
Where are you heading into that? They have not changed that sign.
Brian Johnson 0:32:22
I mean, five, six years, we’ve had that periodically. But anyway, on the trailhead there’s a section of Peace Corner Circle that our trail system is going to go across. And so in addition to acquiring property that we’ll be able to construct it, we want people to be able to get on the trail at locations that you can just drive to it. It has a parking lot. You get out and then you walk on it. We’re going to create some trailhead areas like that. That will probably have bathrooms, parking area, playgrounds, and it can additional amenity for those apartment residents that live in the area.
Rico Figliolini 0:33:04
So I was wondering about that. So we’ll have playground set up over there as well.
Brian Johnson 0:33:09
Yeah, maybe covered picnic table, pavilions tables, things, a real recreational amenity.
Rico Figliolini 0:33:16
Okay, so not just a trailhead really. There’s more than so how much is being acquired then? Like I would imagine there has to be at least an acre or two, a couple of acres on either side.
Brian Johnson 0:33:29
Oh yeah, and more than that. Now both of the sections are in wetlands areas, so they are at higher risk for flooding at certain times. But all we’re putting in is bathrooms and playground stuff or whatever, which is not the end of the world. Nobody’s residing there and so we’re going to put it to use. They’re really undevelopable. But our acquisition, we didn’t go in and squeeze the property that we needed. We just went to the owner of the entire parcel that’s kind of in the wetlands and said, look, we’ll just buy the whole parcel. We’re going to leave a lot of the trees up, buffering adjacent property owners. So it’s more than just a couple of acres, but we only need a couple of acres to do what we’re doing. So yeah, one day it’ll be a good way for people in the area to get on the trail and it’ll be a good place for people to take their kids for playground or have a picnic or whatever.
Rico Figliolini 0:34:33
Most of these trails, I mean, they’re all multi use. I’m thinking like not the Rocket not the Rocket trail up in Swani area, but you could literally ride your bike then I’d imagine 24 miles route once it’s all completed and just right through the city, you could do like 48 miles bike ride through the city going twice.
Brian Johnson 0:34:53
It’s like the Silver Comet trail.
Rico Figliolini 0:34:56
That’s what it was.
Brian Johnson 0:34:59
A couple of our sections will connect to other communities that are doing the same thing. We are planning on connecting to a trail section where we border Sandy Springs right there on Balding.
Rico Figliolini 0:35:10
Brian Johnson 0:35:11
And so you’ll be able to take our trail to a section that you could jump on a neighboring municipality’s multi use trail system as well. Yeah, I mean, hopefully one day that you don’t have to just stay in peace street corners. But yes, theoretically you could just do a 24 miles lap on your bike.
Rico Figliolini 0:35:30
Yeah, I could see some cycling groups doing that. The other thing that’s coming about is that you guys I think, did the first read or you did the approval on the dog park coming to town center. Big, big dog, small dog. I think you said around September maybe we talked about it.
Brian Johnson 0:35:48
Council wasn’t a first. It didn’t require two reads. It was just council authorizing the money that the dog park is going to cost to be appropriated and for me to execute the contract. Okay, so it’s been executed. The contractor that’s going to build it has been given a notice to proceed. I think they’re going to start in about two weeks. It will not affect the town green because it’s on the backside of Cinnabistro there. So it will start in about two weeks. It’ll be done in about September time frame. And yes, it’s a pretty big facility. It has big dog section, a small dog section. And we are going to construct a small building that can be used to serve something, whether it’s drinks or food or both, into people within the dog park. So in other words and there’s a couple of locations locally. Buckhead has one where it’s a dog park. And then once you’re in the dog park, you can go up to a bar and get drinks and not have to leave the facility.
Brian Johnson 0:37:01
You actually go to a window that is oriented to inside the dog park. And so we may end up bidding it out and letting a company come in and operate it at certain times to where if you’re there and you want to just chill for a little bit and you want to go and get a process, you can and not have to leave your dog in dog park.
Rico Figliolini 0:37:22
It’s almost like a concession stand.
Brian Johnson 0:37:24
Yeah, I mean, a little bit.
Rico Figliolini 0:37:26
You’ll have a patio with some seating.
Brian Johnson 0:37:28
Areas that are oh, yeah, definitely covered. Lots of seating. Some of it artificially shaded. We’re not removing we’re not clear cutting the area. Each section has both a special turf area and a section that’s being left open to just mulched area.
Rico Figliolini 0:37:49
Brian Johnson 0:37:51
It’ll be used a lot, but it does increase maintenance because we’re going to have to have our crews hose it off periodically. Probably after people who don’t do the right thing by picking up after their dogs in the dog park.
Rico Figliolini 0:38:07
Yes. God knows there are people like that. They never no responsibility. God knows. The restrooms as well, or no, not.
Brian Johnson 0:38:16
In additional to the ones that are already out there. No.
Rico Figliolini 0:38:21
All right. And that’s coming in September. So that’s starting like July 14 or so somewhere around there. All right, cool. So we’ve covered quite a bit. Looking forward to more things happening. I know there’s more things out there happening. So city never sleeps.
Brian Johnson 0:38:36
Almost chance we’ll get left behind if we do.
Rico Figliolini 0:38:39
Yes. Apparently there are always things happening. Even with curiosity. Lab. There’s always an article we’re writing about. I mean, we just had one recently about Audi partnering with the city. And Curiosity Lab that’s in our newest issue of Southwest Gwynette magazine that’s coming out this week, actually hit the post office today. So it’s being dropped later this week, today being June 29. For those that might be listening to this a bit later. Yeah, there’s stuff like that. We’re doing another story, I think, covering Dell startup taking place actually here in history corners, so we’ll be covering that story. So there’s always something that’s going on, whether it’s Atlanta Tech Park or Curiosity Lab, that whole big thing. So it’s never a dull moment here. And it’s no wonder Fortune magazine thought we’d be the best place for your family to come and live. So this good stuff.
Brian Johnson 0:39:39
Rico Figliolini 0:39:41
Brian, thank you for being with me today and sharing all the good information that you have. Always appreciate.
Brian Johnson 0:39:47
Thanks for having me.
Rico Figliolini 0:39:48
No, I love doing this. Great. And if anyone has comments or think that we should be discussing other things or have suggested topics either for these podcasts or for the magazine or anything, leave your comments. If this is on Facebook or YouTube, leave it there or email me. You could do that at firstname.lastname@example.org and that’ll get to me.
Brian Johnson 0:40:16
If you ever get any of those, I’d be happy to have previously submitted topics that somebody was like, you know, I’d really like you guys to talk about X. I got no problem with that whatsoever. You and I, we’re just in the interest of time, are skipping lots of other things we could talk about. So I’m always open to things that a listener wants to hear us talk about.
Rico Figliolini 0:40:41
Good, because I’m actually developing, besides developing a third magazine that will be surrounding that’s going to be called Atlanta Pickleball Magazine, that’s covering the North Side, going north of Buckhead into the suburbs. But I’m thinking about doing some sort of live stream that’s a real live stream, either on Twitter or on TikTok or something else where we can talk and people can actually comment and ask questions as we’re having a conversation.
Brian Johnson 0:41:15
No problem. If somebody live submits a question, I’ve done that many times. You’re able to get that. No problem whatsoever. I mean, I’ve done my last city, there were callers that called in.
Rico Figliolini 0:41:30
Yes, I’m sure.
Brian Johnson 0:41:31
It’s not even like you have to send it via a written form. They just call in and we’re talking to them directly.
Rico Figliolini 0:41:38
I think that would be kind of cool to do that. I’m looking at whether it’s on Twitter or TikTok or one of the other platforms, that we could do this on a live feed where we can have a back and forth and have live comments coming in that we can answer or ignore because you never know what comes on those comments. But yeah, if you’re all for that, absolutely. Thank you, everyone. I appreciate you joining us. Remember, leave your comments and like us. If you’re listening to this on an Audible or one of these podcasts, whether it’s on Spotify or Apple, leave your review because that’s how people find this as well. Thank you, everyone.
Reeling in New Skills during Jones Bridge Park Kids Fishing Day
Nothing is quite as exciting as learning a new skill for kids, especially when it’s free! On June 3, Jones Bridge Park hosted its annual Kid’s Fishing Day, sponsored by Gwinnett County and Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
John Lee Thomson, the Hatchery Manager at Burton Hatchery for the Georgia DNR, has worked for DNR for roughly 15 years and had his first time attending Kid’s Fishing Day at Jones Bridge Park this year.
Thomson explained that these events happen all over the state through DNR; however, Gwinnett County runs the event at Jones Bridge Park. DNR provided the trout to release into the river, and Gwinnett County ran the rest of the event. Nevertheless, what makes this event so unique every year is the accessibility of the event.
“Today is a free fishing day in Georgia, and no fishing license is required, meaning you can fish anywhere,” said Thomson.
The event lasted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and had a great show out with numerous families visiting during the allotted time, ensuring plenty of time for families to enjoy the great weather and reel in some trout. For many kids, it was their first time fishing which Nathan Griswell, Volunteer Resources Coordinator, revealed is one of the main goals of the event.
“We were just releasing some trout into the river, and they bring out free rods and reels as a part of their Gateway to Fishing program, so everyone can give fishing a try,” said Griswell. “We have all kinds of county and non-county partners here that are all about being outdoors and helping people just have fun out here.”
As well as providing free rods and reels for attendees, the event also had several booths set up related to various things, such as water conservation education and a fish cleaning station provided by Scout Troop 648.
One reason why the event brings in so many volunteers is because of the positive effects the event continuously has on the Peachtree Corners community.
“I just have fun being down there in the water and helping them release the fish and everything and just seeing the smiles on people’s faces,” said Griswell.
Overall, it was an outstanding community-building and educational event hosted by Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation Department.
Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Welcomes Six New Members to Citizens Advisory Board
Eco-Focused Nonprofit Also Announces New Chair-Elect and Three Additions to Board of Trustees
As a community-based organization launched in 1980 by a group of concerned citizens who hoped to inspire individual action and find long-term solutions to environmental and quality of life issues, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful (GC&B) has always been guided by a Citizens Advisory Board (CAB). Tasked with shaping the future of the eco-focused nonprofit and representing virtually every sector within the Gwinnett County community, six new members were recently added to the group’s ranks on July 5, 2022.
“In our quest to connect people and resources for a sustainable Gwinnett, we seek continuous improvement as an organization,” said Schelly Marlatt, Executive Director for GC&B. “Every person who serves on the Citizens Advisory Board brings something special to the table, causing shifts in both our culture and our delivery of programs and events. I am grateful to each and every member of the CAB – past, present and future. They represent some of Gwinnett County’s best, brightest and most impassioned leaders our community has to offer. I am both delighted and excited to see what each of our six outstanding new members delivers to our board and organization.”
The six new members added to GC&B’s Citizens Advisory Board include:
Angela Duncan – Division 11 Judge – Gwinnett County Superior Court
Derek Higgs – Owner, Higgs Leadership Development/Co-Founder, Sapphire Youth Development Center
Jessica Holden – Science Curriculum Director, Gwinnett County Public Schools
Santiago Marquez – CEO, Latin American Association
Kristan VandenHeuvel – Director of Applied Research and Engagement, The Water Tower
Shantell Wilson – Economic Development Director, Gwinnett County Government
Returning Members of the Citizens Advisory Board are:
Chairman of the Board Chuck Button of Jacobs Engineering Group
Mark Abrams of Aspen Information Systems, Inc.
Joe Allen of Gwinnett Place CID
Jay Bassett of EPA (retired)
Jimmy Burnette of City of Suwanee
Carla Carraway of Precision Planning, Inc.
Jason Chandler of Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation
Former Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway
Alyssa Davis of Sugarloaf CID
Fred Dawkins of Frederick C. Dawkins, Esq. P.C.
Melvin Everson of Gwinnett Technical College
Former Gwinnett County Chairman Wayne Hill
Lynette Howard of WestRock
L.C. Johnson of United Peachtree Corners Civic Association
Dr. Jann L. Joseph of Georgia Gwinnett College
Pat Kien of Cox Communications
Pam Ledbetter of Accent Creative Group
Donald Lee of Gwinnett County Courts
Rachel Little of Boehringer Ingelheim
Kevin Middlebrooks of Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources
Cathy Nichols of Mobile Communications of Gwinnett, Inc.
Andrew Pourchier of Rhodes, Young, Black & Duncan
Craig Roberts of Jackson EMC
Anthony Rodriguez of Aurora Theatre
Ron Seibenhener (Retired) of Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources
Kay Sibetta of AARP of Georgia
Jenny Payne Simpkins of City of Lilburn
Anne Soutter of Primerica
Trent Spake of Chastain & Associates Insurance
Glenn Stephens of Gwinnett County Government
Marianne Velker of Bank of America
Mark Willis of Georgia School Boards Association
Marlatt also added her thanks to three new members of the governing body of GC&B – its Board of Trustees – for the gifts of their time, talents and devotion to seeing that the organization is functioning at optimal levels for the good of the community it serves. Those new members include long-time CAB members Dawkins, Velker and Everson. Donald Lee of Gwinnett County Courts is the Board of Trustees’ new Chair-Elect. To learn more about Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, visit GwinnettCB.org.
Don't miss out on news and events in Peachtree Corners.