This week, Patch introduces a new feature: Lilburn Luminaries, a Q&A with someone in Lilburn who's making a difference.
Starting off the series is an interview with , the director of the Lilburn Community Improvement District. The CID is an organization made possible by businesses that tax themselves to raise funds for area improvements. (Click on the link to read a Patch profile of McDowell.)
Patch: What's keeping the Lilburn CID busy these days?
McDowell: We have two studies that will be starting in the next 30 days. One is an access management study – this study will focus on both sides of Highway 29 from Pleasant Hill Road to Postal Way to determine better access possibilities between parcels (and businesses).
The other is a beautification study – this study will cover the four miles between Ronald Reagan Parkway and Rockbridge Road. The main purpose will be to identify potential projects (streetscape, landscape, etc.) that will enhance the appearance of Highway 29.
Patch: What projects will be realized next?
McDowell: No.1: We have submitted an application to the State Roads and Tollway Authority (SRTA) requesting $800,000 to be used for the Main Street Realignment projects. This is a CID project that is being done to support the relocation of the City Hall and new Lilburn library. As a result of this project a new area for commercial development will be created where the current Main Street exists.
No. 2: In conjunction with the Main Street Realignment there will be a Multi-use Trail built along the new main street from Highway 29 circling the round-about back up Church Street.
No. 3: A Request for Qualification (RFQ) was made available today as part of the multi-use trail that will be built along Highway 29 from Killian Hill Road to Postal Way (see the pdf in the photos).
No. 4: We are waiting on a permit from GDOT to begin a landscaping project in the new median on Highway 29 from Postal Way to Reagan Parkway. There are eight locations for landscaping. This project will start any day now.
Patch: Not everyone knows or understands fully what a CID is. Could you talk about your mission and purpose and how you were formed?
McDowell: The main focus is revitalization and re-development of Greater Lilburn. All of the city falls within the CID. The purpose of the studies is to identify projects (streetscape, landscaper, security, safety, water and sewage, etc.) that will create an environment that will invite potential revitalization and redevelopment projects. It is necessary to work with the city, county, Gwinnett Chamber, state and federal leaders to secure funding to support the main focus. This is accomplished when commercial property owners agree to pay an additional property tax that becomes the operating budget for the CID and then leveraged to secure this additional funding. Over the last 25 years, CIDs throughout metro Atlanta and GA have used this private-public partnership to encourage revitalization and redevelopment.
A CID is a private organization consisting of commercial property owners who agree to self-tax themselves in order to make an initial investment to spur revitalization and re-development of a specific area or district. Since CIDs are private organizations, there is freedom to explore potential projects without the restraints of a government entity.
Patch: What's your favorite thing about Lilburn?
McDowell: Location, location, location. The greater Lilburn community has incredible access to I-85, Highway 78, and consequently, I-285. And there are multiple streets that give you choices other than the main corridor of Highway 29. That makes the Greater Lilburn community attractive for future residential as well as business, commercial and office projects.
Patch: How do you envision Lilburn five years from now?
McDowell: Lilburn will become a destination that will offer a variety of attractions: excellent parks, sports, cultural and educational choices. And with appropriate planning the Greater Lilburn community will become an ideal area for Live, Work and Play possibilities.