GPCID Guest Blog Post: Nicole Love Hendrickson
2020 Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Candidate (Democrat)
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.
Learn more about Nicole, by clicking here.
Guest Blog Questions
1. Why are you running for Chairman, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners?
Answer: Gwinnett County is the 2nd most populous county in the state of Georgia. It is the most diverse county in the entire state and in the southeast. The Nation will look like what Gwinnett County is over the next 10 years. Every decision that is made from today moving forward will catalyze how other communities across the nation will plan for growth, leverage our strengths and drive policies that move our county forward. It is critical that we have the right person at the helm. I am running for Chairman because I have spent more than a decade driving decisions that improve our county and well being of our residents. I am a part of Gwinnett’s success story. As a young professional, I represent the changing demographics, and as a community leader, I have a pulse on that change and what that means to how future decisions will be impacted. Having recently served as the Community Outreach Director as an appointee of Chairman Charlotte Nash, I am the only candidate who has local, regional and county-wide government experience. I have the passion and commitment to serve and that is demonstrated in my work as a social worker, community builder, and advocate.
2. Where are your favorite places to spend time in the Gwinnett Place area and why?
Answer: The Gwinnett Place CID continues to be one of my favorite CID’s in it’s offerings of shopping, dining and spending my leisure time with friends or family. My favorite go-to places for dining is Fumi. I actually hosted my birthday and kick-off event there, if that gives you any indication of how much I enjoy the establishment. The food is awesome and the service is second to none. For coffee and treats, I love Paris Baguette. Not only does it have great desserts and coffee, it’s a great place to meet with clients, team members, or do satellite working. Another one of my favorite dessert establishments is Mac Labs which is known for their macarons whether for yourself or to buy a gift for someone else. Shopping is therapy for me! I still go to Gwinnett Place Mall if I’m looking for something quick at Macy’s or other department store. shops like Marshalls and TJ Maxx offer quick shopping for me as well. My family and I frequent Studio Movie Grill for dine-in movie options when we are looking for leisurely fun. I know the Gwinnett Place Mall area has so much to offer, as it provides a one stop shop for all of your dining, entertainment, and shopping needs!
3. What do you see as the role of CIDs in Gwinnett, and how would you work with the Gwinnett Place CID, if elected?
Answer: The 5 Community Improvement Districts that we are fortunate to have in Gwinnett County, by and large, provide destination hubs throughout the county. The Board of Commissioners should lean all the way in leverage them as extensions of redevelopment and revitalization arms. Each of the CID’s have a common goal of creating a sense of place, and the county would be remised, if we did not seek out their consul in developing communities of place throughout the county. They are huge economic engines, they attract jobs, they provide quality of life opportunities, and they are forward thinking in their approach to community development.
If elected, I plan to work in concert the CID’s to strengthen their capacity to move the needle on redevelopment projects. For the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District, my goal is to work with Joe Allen and the board to identify the pressure points, remove obstacles and any challenges that may impede the progress. The CID should be a liaison and bring both the public and private sectors together to craft a masterplan within economic realities. There already are several master plans. Gwinnett Place is the central area of the economic engine of the county. We can also make investments through SPLOST to fund projects in the CID’s LCI plans and transportation studies.
4. If elected, will Gwinnett Place be a priority for you? If yes, what is your vision for the Gwinnett Place area?
Answer: Yes. The Gwinnett Place CID should be a priority because it is a regional destination, not just for people who live inside the borders of Gwinnett, but for people who travel through, work in and do business in the CID. The 2015 ACTivate plan recommended a series of projects that were designed to enhance the mobility of all modes while encouraging new development and redevelopment in the area. I believe we should re-visit the plan, make improvements and prioritize investments in the plan. See above notes
5. What is your vision for transit in Gwinnett County?
Answer: Transit is the way of the future. We cannot move forward or talk about redevelopment, economic development or plan for our growth without talking about transit. My vision is to fully implement the transit plan that was proposed by the Transit Review Committee and approved by the BOC.
5a. How will you bring transit to Gwinnett Place?
Answer: In addition to the proposed Bus Rapid Transit along Satellite Blvd, I see the potential to expand other modes of transportation too that promotes connectivity throughout the CID such as, sidewalks, trails, bike paths that are transit and pedestrian-friendly.
5b. Do you endorse the Transit Review Committee’s plan submitted to the Board of Commissioners in February?
Yes. Using the Connect Gwinnett plan as a baseline for their decisions, I feel the committee did a good job of filling in the gaps with addressing the needs of our local transit system and regional connectivity. With the new recommendations it would ensure that the existing transit service is accessible to a greater number of our population.
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?
The dead mall is driving area property values down, contributing to blight and is an eyesore. There are a number of things we can do to address this problem:
1. We can strengthen our code enforcement policies (this one is huge) and hold the mall owners accountable to a higher standard of operation. If they don’t comply, then we must have some basis for compliance or having them moved out or shut down
2. We could discourage or prohibit use of the mall as a filming site. Since they are generating revenue, what incentives would they have for vacating the property?
3. We could extend the redevelopment overlay district boundaries to cover the mall.
6a. If elected, what would be your plan for the mall site?
The opportunities are boundless with the mall site. It could be primed for mixd-use development.
6b. How will you work with the Gwinnett Place CID to accomplish your plan?
This could be driven by a public/private partnership with the CID facilitating the process. See above.
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?
I believe that the CID’s should be represented on the committees that are tasked with prioritizing and allocating SPLOST funding. The county should consider making real investments in the Gwinnett Place CID and is crucial to do so.
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?
The ACTivate Gwinnett plan provides a great roadmap for improvement in this area. We need to invest in the projects that was the result of a joint collaboration between the CID and the County. I feel that we can leverage SPLOST dollars to invest in the projects that have not been fully funded. Moving forward, I believe that a joint plan should also include a plan to fully fund the projects.