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Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District Launches Walkability And Urban Living Studies

A map of the study area along Jimmy Carter Boulevard

As walkability and access to transportation, retail and community activities become the standard for urban centers, cities and suburban communities are conducting studies exploring how to transform commercial districts into vibrant live-work-play areas. 

In 2017, the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District received $136K from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative to improve livability, accessibility and sustainability along the Jimmy Carter Boulevard corridor. The study plans to shed light on not only the areas of improvement in Gwinnett Village, but also the economic opportunities the CID offers Gwinnett County. 

ARC launched the LCI in 2000 to serve local communities in Greater Atlanta, and has since invested $201M in 120 communities. The program is funded with federal transportation dollars, and the grants cover 80% of the cost of each study or transportation project, with the recipient making a 20% funding match. 

The Jimmy Carter Corridor is a regionally significant employment center. The GVCID is in proximity of 31M SF of industrial and flex space, making up 24% of Gwinnett County’s total inventory. The area also has 5.7M SF of retail and 2.1M SF of office, 10% and 6% of the county’s CRE assets, respectively.

The diverse real estate spread attracts 3,644 companies that employ 36,370 employees, 11.5% of Gwinnett’s workforce. Employment in the GVCID accounts for $2B in annual payroll.

The pedestrian walkway along the Jimmy Carter Boulevard Bridge

The core team of the study will include area stakeholders, local government representatives and nonprofit, business and community leaders. Representatives from the CID and ARC will also work together to guide the study and track its progress, while Sizemore Group will handle the main study and outreach efforts. Bleakly Group will conduct a market analysis of the area, which is required by the Livable Centers Initiative.

A large part of the LCI plan calls for public outreach. In addition to open houses, surveys and digital media announcements, the CID plans to engage with the community through pop-up events at local festivals, tours of the corridor highlighting proposed improvements and temporary improvement installations. One of the study team members, We Love BuHi, will take inspiration from the outreach methods used along the Buford Highway corridor to engage stakeholders along Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

To accommodate Jimmy Carter Boulevard's demographic diversity, project information, meeting notices and surveys will be translated into multiple languages. Multilingual outreach will be available on-site during events. 

The GVCID has also entered into a partnership with Georgia Tech to conduct a supplemented community study, in an effort to cast a more academic lens on commercial district improvement projects in the CID. 

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