CID seeks proposals for traffic and pedestrian improvements on Hwy 29

The Lilburn Community Improvement District (LCID) is seeking to implement traffic and pedestrian operational improvements at two locations on US Highway 29 (Lawrenceville Highway). The planning and engineering tasks requested from the consulting community will be utilized by the Lilburn Community Improvement District Board of Directors and Gwinnett County Department of Transportation in determining the appropriate infrastructure improvements at the intersections of (1) US Highway 29/Jimmy Carter Boulevard and (2) Ronald Reagan southbound off-ramp at US Highway 29.

The LCID is requesting proposals from experienced and qualified professional engineering firms to provide operational analysis, a signal warrant study, a concept plan and scoping report including development of signal plans, and related services.

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BAPS Mandir Hindu Temple at the center of development initiative

The Lilburn CID is undertaking a master planning process for the area around the BAPS Mandir Hindu Temple. The BAPS Mandir Temple is one of only five in the country, the largest Hindu temple outside of India and is Gwinnett County’s number one destination for tourism.

mandirThe CID is working with BAPS Mandir Temple officials, city, county and state officials and the local business community to complete a plan that will transform the area around Rockbridge Road and Lawrenceville Highway in Lilburn into a vibrant destination for members of the Mandir, tourists visiting the Mandir and local residents. The plan will focus on transportation and mobility enhancements, landscaping, lighting improvements, residential development planning and economic development strategies.

The estimated project cost is $50,000 and will be started this spring and is expected to be completed this fall.

The primary goal of the Lilburn CID is to increase the value of our member properties. This incredible project will increase business in our retail and dining establishments and attract high income residents to the area surrounding our CID.

CID Welcomes Emory Morsberger as New Executive Director

Emory Morsberger portraitThe Lilburn CID is pleased to announce the appointment of Emory Morsberger as its new Executive Director.

Emory is very familiar with issues of importance to our community. Lilburn has been home to Emory, his wife and their seven daughters for the last 25 years. He also served the residents of Lilburn as their State Representative in the early 1990s.

Additionally, Emory pioneered the successful creation and management of CIDs throughout metro Atlanta. He is a graduate of Emory University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance, and he has many years of dedicated public and business service experience.

Lilburn CID Gains Big Foothold as Home Depot Joins

The Lilburn Community Partnership reached $105 million in property value with the addition of two Home Depot stores. They were the locations in Lilburn and the Jimmy Carter location at U.S. Highway 29 and Jimmy Carter. The goal to attain to form the district is $437 million, with work “on target” to reach that goal.

A public media event will be held on Tuesday, October 20 at 10 a.m. at The Home Depot in Lilburn. The Lilburn Community Partnership, Home Depot, the Lilburn Business Association, along with city, county, and state officials, are invited to this media event.

J.T. Rieves, regional vice president of the Mid-South region for The Home Depot, says: “We are excited to be a part of the Lilburn Community Partnership. Since the company was founded, The Home Depot has been committed to helping improve the communities where our associates live and work, and we look forward to working with the Lilburn Community Partnership to that end.”

Gerald McDowell, executive director for the Lilburn Community Partnership, feels: “Our partnership with Home Depot will have a positive impact on the Lilburn community and will encourage other property owners such as Wal-Mart to join us, as well.”

A CID is a geographically defined district in which commercial property owners consent to invest in a commercial property fund that will be used to leverage for significant funds to use in the specified district. The property owners have control of the projects in the area and this brings in resources from outside the district that were not previously accessible.

Aging Lilburn Aims for Overhaul

Metro Atlanta’s suburbs will not compete for the young professionals drawn to neighborhoods inside the Perimeter unless they can offer urban amenities.

That challenge, incorporated into Gwinnett County’s new development plan, is driving efforts in Lilburn to create a community development district to finance an overhaul of the city’s aging commercial district.

“We don’t have enough restaurants and shops,” said Gerald McDowell, executive director of the Lilburn Community Partnership, the newly formed nonprofit spearheading the project. “What a CID would do is take us to the next level.”

The proposed Lilburn CID didn’t spring to life in a vacuum.

It would become the fourth CID in Gwinnett, all located in the southern end of the county.

The first formed in 2003, when commercial property owners along U.S. 78 in the Snellville area agreed to tax themselves to pay for needed improvements.

The Evermore CID was followed in 2004 by the Gwinnett Place CID and the Gwinnett Village CID in 2006.

The progress those CIDs are making in their neighborhoods influenced Lilburn’s community and business leaders to want to follow suit, said state Rep. Clay Cox, R-Lilburn.

“People who live in Lilburn travel through those areas,” he said. “They see the landscaping, medians, road improvements and additional security.”

“Lilburn historically has been a quiet little city,” added Mayor Diana Preston. “We know we’ve got to keep up.”

Under the Georgia Constitution, a CID cannot be formed until 50 percent plus one of the proposed district’s commercial property owners support the idea.

Also, owners of 75 percent of the district’s commercial property value must be on board.

Once that happens, CIDs are submitted to the appropriate city council and/or county commission for approval.

McDowell said backers of the Lilburn CID thus far have signed up about 80 of the proposed district’s 437 property owners along the U.S. 29 corridor.

Together, they own about 13 percent of the district’s $581 million in commercial property value.

The Lilburn group is facing a March deadline to submit the plan to Gwinnett County.

McDowell said he’s optimistic that the required signatures will have been gathered by the end of the year.

By law, CIDs are limited to financing public projects, such as transportation, streetscaping and parks.

But Cox said those are the kinds of improvements that create an environment that attracts the private sector to invest in a commercial area. He said he’s looking to the new CID to help draw restaurants, shops and other forms of entertainment that Lilburn lacks.

“Lilburn residents drive to other areas of the county to spend money,” Cox said. “We want them to stay.”

McDowell said he also wants to use the CID to beef up security inside the proposed district, using a Gwinnett Village CID program as a model.

Gwinnett Village pays off-duty Gwinnett County and city of Norcross police officers and a private security force to conduct night patrols.

Chuck Warbington, the Gwinnett Village CID’s executive director, said commercial burglaries in the district have been cut in half since the program began.

Warbington said the CIDs that have sprung up in southern Gwinnett in recent years reflect a growing commitment by county officials to revitalize older communities that for years were ignored and left to deteriorate.

“What you have in general is development that took place 30 years ago that has aged,” said McDowell. “It’s time to do some redevelopment or new development.”

Gwinnett County’s latest long- range development plan, adopted by the county commission last February, argues that such revitalization is critical to keeping up with employment shifts in the greater metro region that have brought in new residents with different interests.

“The county will have to go beyond the ‘bread and butter’ of suburban living if it is to remain the preferred place for the emergent, footloose information workers who crave more than the suburban lifestyle,” according to the plan’s summary. “Government can help seed this evolution towards a more urban environment.”

Atlanta Business Chronicle
Dave Williams
Staff Writer