Reaction to the recent Gwinnett County Planning Commission decision to recommend a proposed retail and housing development project along the Highway 20 corridor has been mixed. At least, that’s how it seems to me. I hear some folks who don’t want the houses. Others who don’t want the retail. Others who don’t want anything at all if it means adding one minute more to an already tough commute.
I’m sort of up in the air about the matter. I need more data. How will this affect school zones? How will it impact traffic? What kind of retailers are going to be targeted? Will this help draw other business development toward Grayson, perhaps making it easier for the downtown area to build up?
Because, honestly, from where I sit, a lot of people want development in Grayson. They want it controlled, and they want it to their specifications, but they want it.
I hear Chick-fil-A a lot. I hear calls for more restaurants and more shops, but then I hear people say they don’t want the traffic to get any worse or they don’t want anyone else moving into the area.
So I wonder: do we really know what we want? Or is it more that we know what we don’t want? We don’t want big boxes. We don’t want fly-by-night retailers who’ll go under in six months and leave a trail of shuttered spaces where there were once trees. I get that.
But it’s not enough to say what we don’t want. We have to paint a compelling vision for what we’d like to see. We have a Grayson DDA, a Main Street Georgia program, and a City government that are all open for ideas and input, but are we really giving them our vision for what we’d like to see?
Or are we simply telling them what we don’t want to see?
I’ll push my chips into the center of the table. I think Grayson could thrive as an arts hub – a great spot nestled between Atlanta and Athens where musicians, painters, writers, chefs, and visionaries in general can come and be inspired. I’d love to see more restaurants. I’d love for Eddie Owens to open a second Red Clay Theater here. I’d love to see some modern buildings across from the park on Rosebud, where people could go for a nice meal, catch some live jazz, and then breeze across the street to enjoy the majesty of the oak tree canopy. I’d love to see people sitting at sidewalk tables, sipping coffee or tea or whatever, just enjoying the company of their fellow diners.
That’s my vision.
But what’s yours? What do you see when you think of the future Grayson? In your mind, how do we grow Grayson and still keep it great?
I don’t have all the answers, but I want to be part of the conversation. That’s why my plan is to be at the Commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday, May 26th at the Justice and Admin Center off of Langley Drive. I think there will be a lot of other folks there that night as well.
What about you?