City Councilmember Alex Wright’s City Update
Every month or so Alex Wright provides an update on the city and we pick-up the eblast usually in total or with some edits for space. Here is the latest from Alex.
The Town Center continues to move forward nicely. We were recently informed that we have set an unofficial grand opening date of 15 December 2018.
Town Green programming
At our recent offsite retreat, the Council discussed a potential programming calendar for events on the Town Green. Much of what was proposed as a result of the survey the City sent out last year asking for input. I expect it will be a work in progress as we add and subtract things in the first few years based on what is successful and what is not, but at a minimum, I think we can expect to see a steady stream of movies, concerts, and festivals.
I really like what Norcross has done with their concert series and Duluth has done with their movie series so I am hopeful we can improve on what they already have and then add in some of our unique ideas.
Regardless of what events end up happening there, it is very exciting to finally be getting our own community gathering place!
Autonomous Vehicles coming to PTC
We continue to make progress on starting our AV (Autonomous Vehicle) pilot program that would start in Tech Park. The Council recently green-lighted staff to move forward with finalizing plans for a loop that would initially run along the full length of Technology Parkway (about 1.6 miles) and hopefully quickly be expanded to run from Tech Park down to the Town Center. This would enhance both daytime and nighttime mobility between Tech Park by giving workers (daytime) and hotel visitors (nighttime) from the Hilton and Marriott an easy way to get to the Town Center (and Forum).
The initial phase will require some prep work on Technology Parkway to allow the AV to run on a dedicated lane. Initially, the pilot will only include one vehicle (holds 12 people) but to become a truly viable alternative to driving your own vehicle the program will need more vehicles. As we had mentioned in an earlier newsletter, one of the goals of this program is to improve mobility within PTC. We can’t control the amount of traffic that flows thru PTC from other cities but we can help make movement within PTC better.
We have tentative plans for a significant media announcement for late April (probably around the 24th)
I initially had hoped that the pilot would be operational by year-end but the current thinking is that next spring is probably more realistic.
Crime decreases in PTC
We recently received a report from the Gwinnett police that showed crime statistics for PTC over the last 5 years (1 Jan 2013 – 31 Dec 2017).
Looking at crime month to month can be tricky as you can have unexplained spikes and declines but an extended period such as five years provides a more reliable look at true trends.
I was pleased to see that our area had experienced a 13% decline in crime from 2013 to 2017.
Well done to the Gwinnett police!
Hilton votes against giving lawmakers (and himself) a pension increase
The Georgia General Assembly recently voted to increase the pension retired lawmakers can receive.
I was pleased to see that our local Representative, Scott Hilton, voted against this bill.
Considering our teacher’s pension plan is still not funded at 100% I thought this was the right decision by Representative Hilton.
The Council is actively considering creating an “entertainment district” [Editor’s Note: This was discussed in a recent podcast with City Manager Brian Johnson] that would allow for special rules regarding alcohol.
The district would cover roughly the Forum and Town Center area.
The two primary changes would be
– Open container (with various restrictions) when purchased from restaurants in the district
– BYOB during certain special events such as concerts on the Town Green
Office Lofts coming to Tech Park
The remaking of Tech Park continues…. a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle (subscription may be needed) had news of the old Honeywell Building on Technology Parkway being sold and is scheduled to be redeveloped into office lofts. Apparently, this is a very popular trend ITP (inside the perimeter) but is a relatively new occurrence in the suburbs.
The new AV loop will be going right by this building which will hopefully boost this new developments chance of success.
Part of the article talks about the former Honeywell International building – 125,000 square foot office and warehouse – which will be converted. The buildings are located at 125 Technology Parkway.
Peachtree Station getting new water lines
Approximately 21,000 linear feet of water main will be getting replaced in Peachtree Station starting around August 2018 and wrapping up around November of 2020.
Phase 1 will cover the following streets – Clinchfield Trail, Colbert Trail, Allenhurst Drive, Brinson Way, Sapelo Court and Naylor Court
Phase 1 construction expected to last from August 2018 to August 2019.
Phase 2 will cover Denton Circle, Bostwick Circle, Caldwell Court, Alto Court, Eastman Trail. Broxton Circle, Martech Court, Avera Lane and Alley Court.
Phase 2 construction expected to last from late spring 2019 to November 2020.
– no roads will be closed. at least one lane of traffic will always be open
– roads will be restored and resurfaced after construction
– the water main will be in the road (2-3 feet from the edge of the gutter) which should prevent disturbance of existing landscaping
Town Center Phase 2
The Council discussed the next phase of the Town Center (aka Cheeley Property) for the first time as a group during our recent retreat.
Consensus seemed to be reached on several items
- don’t rush to do anything. Let’s finish Town Center Phase 1 first and see how that is doing before making any firm decisions
- use some of the land for a larger town green
- include some type of performing arts center
- no other options were totally taken off the table but a town green and performing center definitely seemed to be items that would be part of the next phase
FY19 Budget discussions begin
During the offsite retreat last month, the Council had its first discussions regarding the FY19 budget (July 2018 – June 2019).
Highlights included (all proposed – vote comes in May/June)
- ZERO millage rate for the sixth straight year
- Funding to complete Town Green
- $1.5M in road paving
- funding for the roundabout at Medlock Bridge and PC Circle
- funding for the AV pilot program
- $1.7M in funding for walking trails
- $75k in street light improvements
- $350k for sidewalk improvements
- funding for slip ramp at Bush Road and Medlock Bridge
- funding for pedestrian enhancements across 141
- continued funding to support Prototype Prime
Public Works updates
– Sidewalks getting installed on southside of Tech Parkway near Homewood Suites (right at 141) replacing the dirt foot trail (very nice improvement) which now provides continuous sidewalks the full length of the southside of Tech Parkway
– Paving of Jones Bridge Circle (all of it) is underway
– Roundabout at Medlock Bridge and PC Circle – land negotiations continue but hopefully will wrap up soon – what we are hearing is best case scenario is at least one year before this will be complete due to the complexity of building a roundabout in an active road.
New Trash provider for PTC?
The City is currently reviewing proposals by four different trash providers to become our new trash provider. The new trash provider will be covering both commercial and residential users. Currently our contract is only for residential users
A few notes
- our trash bill has remained constant at $138 per year since 2013. It is likely that the new contract will include some type of increase though we are working hard to minimize it while still providing an improvement in services. Under the old County plan (pre 2013) we paid about $220 per year. I feel very confident we will stay well under that amount.
- by adding the commercial component to the contract we will get some economy of scale that will help with costs but it also could
- result in having more than one day of pickup unlike currently where everyone is picked up on Monday (usually)
the details of the contract – what day or days to pick up, size of cans, can we use existing cans, what will they recycle, etc, etc, is still to be negotiated.
Fiserv property development proposal headed to the Planning Commission
The proposed redevelopment of the old Fisev property (on East Jones Bridge) is expected to be heard by the Planning Commission this coming week on April 17. The Planning Commission meets at the new City Hall.
The development basically would be a 55+ focused project
The link below to AJC article
[Editor’s Note: this is presented in totality as it appeared in his email]
Disclaimer – This newsletter is not an official or unofficial document of the City or the Council. It is simply me sharing information and an occasional opinion.
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