2020 Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Candidate (Democrat)
GPCID Guest Blog Post: Desmond Nembhard
Introduction: Gwinnett Place CID has asked candidates running for both the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman and the Gwinnett County District One Commissioner to answer several questions explaining their vision for the County and Gwinnett Place.
Bio: Desmond Nembhard, a resident of Gwinnett County for the last 12 years, came to the United States in 1990 in pursuit of the “American Dream”. He opened his own business, Kingston 30, in 2008 and is currently expanding with hopes to create more jobs for people in the Gwinnett County area. He holds an Associate Degree in Business from County College of Morris and a Bachelors Degree in Economics from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Desmond is described by family and friends as someone who has never forgotten where he came from or whom he’s fighting for. Committed to change in the Gwinnett County area, Desmond has set his standards high and will not stop until a proper balance has been reached. Take the time to consider Desmond Nembhard as your County Commissioner. It is time for new voices and different points of views to be represented in the Gwinnett County Government.
Learn more about Desmond by clicking here.
1. Why are you running for Chairman, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners?
As a Candidate for Gwinnett County Commission Chair, I’m running because I have a passion for this my home county. For a county this diverse, rich in culture and talent, it’s my opinion that we need new leadership. We need a leader with a vision, a leader that can unite us as Gwinettians, one people to move our County forward.
2. Where are your favorite places to spend time in the Gwinnett Place area and why?
Olive Garden, Studio Movie Grill and Venture Cinemas. Pasta is one of my favorite dish (any kind), it’s also one of my comfort food. I like going to either of these 2 movie theaters to sit back, unwind and enjoy a movie. I like going to a late movie (not many people in the theater the) because that’s one way for me to settle, think and clear my mind
3. What do you see as the role of CIDs in Gwinnett, and how would you work with the Gwinnett Place CID, if elected?
I see the CIDs in Gwinnett as a very important role player in our County’s economic development. Promoting and developing the business districts throughout Gwinnett is extremely important to our economic sustainability, therefore, I see the CIDs as an engine behind such. They are the county’s eyes each day in these business districts. Once elected, I’d see to it that the CIDs have a seat at the table.
4. If elected, will Gwinnett Place be a priority for you? If yes, what is your vision for the Gwinnett Place area?
Most Definitely!! All Gwinnett County is a priority for me. My vision for Gwinnett Place Mall area is to see the development of a Mix Use property. There’s enough property to have our own smaller “New York City Central Park”. Just imagine waking up to that view each morning, living and working in such an environment. Such vision can become a reality by partnering with the right developer. The potential for Gwinnett Place is endless.
5. What is your vision for transit in Gwinnett County?
One of my top priorities is to see a Mass Transit system that will work for ALL of Gwinnett, not just the 85 corridor. Planning and development must be done with thought and consideration of road congestion and mass transit preparedness. We cannot undo a lot of what has been built but we can take the steps needed to make the roads safer for a pedestrian-friendly environment and a thought to our future Mass Transit system.
5a. How will you bring transit to Gwinnett Place?
We already have transit in Gwinnet, what we ought to do is work on expanding it so that it becomes beneficial to all Gwinnettians, which would also includes Mass transit. Getting this done should not just be a decision of the Board of Commissioners, but must also includes the consultation of the private sector and every single Gwinnett County Resident
5b. Do you endorse the Transit Review Committee’s plan submitted to the Board of Commissioners in February?
I do think that both of the plans currently before the Commissioners are workable. They both have ideas that can be merged to get an even better plan. I’ll endorse it if it’s approved to be on the November 2020 Ballot.
6. Gwinnett Place Mall has extended beyond a local issue to become a national punchline, around the topic of the “dead mall.” How will you address Gwinnett’s dead mall problem?
Gwinnett Place Mall is indeed a “dead mall” and is begging for a renewal. Seeking an immediate meeting with current owners would be a priority in moving forward. There also needs to be a revisit to our Code Enforcement enactment, giving Code Enforcement more authority over this mall area.
6a. If elected, what would be your plan for the mall site?
When elected, my vision is to see this site be torn down and enter a period of renaissance. Developing this site into a mix use area is perfect as of my economy development plan. This would be attractive to our Millennials and our private sector partners.
6b. How will you work with the Gwinnett Place CID to accomplish your plan?
Again, in giving the CIDs a seat at the table, this is where their consultation would be imperative. The end project should be sheared vision for the BOC, the GPCID and Gwinnett County.
7. During the last SPLOST, of the $486,343,270 in transportation funding available, the Gwinnett Place area only received $9 million. Had the CID not had a list of potential projects prepared and shared information about transportation needs in the area with SPLOST committee members, it is likely even less in SPLOST transportation funding would have been allocated for the area. How will you ensure greater equity in future SPLOST funding distributions for Gwinnett Place?
Having a much closer working relationship with the CIDs will also result in better communication between the BOC and CIDs. Funding of projects within the CIDs, especially those that will have an economic impact will see funding prioritize
8. Gwinnett County and the Gwinnett Place CID collaborated on the ACTivate Gwinnett Place plan focusing on area infrastructure. However, most of the projects outlined in the plan are not fully funded. What is your plan to address this issue and move these projects forward?
It’s a fact that all the plans for these developments are already done, therefore there’s no need for more consultancy and reviews. Now it’s time to prioritize said funding from our local budget, and seek assistance where need from both the state and federal Govt.