Guest Blog Post by Jill Edwards, GPCID board member.
If I could define Gwinnett Place in one word, what would it be? I’d say accessible. Why you may ask? I think Gwinnett Place is the most accessible location in the County because it has multiple routes to and from different parts of Gwinnett and even beyond the area, like the I-85 corridor, downtown Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and much more. I’ve been a part of this area for more than 25 years and its accessibility is one of the main reasons I’ve stayed as long as I have.
My employer Wells Fargo, that currently has three locations in the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (GPCID), has also benefitted from the district’s accessibility. Over the decades, Gwinnett County has invested millions of dollars into Gwinnett Place’s transportation network. This investment has allowed Wells Fargo to attract excellent talent in and around the area. In fact, 49 percent of workers in Gwinnett Place have a college degree. Gwinnett Place is home to seven percent of all Gwinnett County jobs with 13 percent of all finance and insurance jobs located within Gwinnett Place. Our banking locations also provide customers with effortless access to conduct business on the run or to come in and meet with us face-to-face. I believe any business would benefit from being located in Gwinnett Place because the community has a lot to offer and current businesses are thriving, resulting in the annual $9.5 billion economic impact we experienced in 2017.
However, as the County continues to attract more employers and residents, accessibility could become an issue. This is one of the main reasons I joined the board of the Gwinnett Place CID in 2015. I wanted to help keep a focus on the district’s accessibility, and the CID is doing an amazing job! Last year, in fact, Gwinnett Place CID partnered with Gwinnett County DOT and Georgia DOT to retime all of the district’s traffic signals and reinstate the traffic responsive system, making mobility around the area even more efficient. Beyond accessibility, GPCID also works to keep the area attractive and as a result of the CID staff’s efforts, we collected 4,311 bags of trash and removed 1,074 illegal signs. We’ve also improved numerous sidewalks and added miles of new ones.
During my time on the board, the CID has worked with Gwinnett County to improve numerous intersections. The intersection project at Pleasant Hill and Club Drive was completed last month and a jointly funded CID/Gwinnett DOT project to construct more streetscape enhancements along Pleasant Hill Road will soon be underway in September. I have heard many community members praise the streetscape projects that have already been completed along Pleasant Hill and Satellite Boulevard.
Come March 19, we will be asked to go to the polls to vote on a historic transit referendum, which if passed, will help to make Gwinnett Place even more accessible to those outside of our area, who want to come here to work, eat in our diverse restaurants, sleep in our incredible hotels or possibly live in new mixed-use communities that are sure to develop along the proposed transit route.
This area has both a lot to offer and a great deal more potential, and we hope businesses (and developers) outside of the area see that. We will continue our efforts and projects to make Gwinnett Place a center for an internationally diverse, livable urban and accessible community.
About Jill Edwards
Jill Edwards is the Gwinnett business banking manager for Wells Fargo. Jill received a BS in finance and minor in management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and has more than 30 years of business banking experience in Atlanta.
She also serves on the Board of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce where she has been active with membership drives since the early 1990s. Jill previously served on the strategy committee of Partnership Gwinnett, the Gwinnett Chamber’s economic development arm, formulating the most recent five-year plan, PG 3.0, and driving membership at the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce from 1990-2014. She has 15 years of active membership in Kiwanis and leadership on Wachovia’s United Way Employee Campaign for Metro Atlanta.
Jill’s 20 years of managing Gwinnett County’s team of business bankers makes her aware of the issues challenging the Gwinnett Place area, and she wants to be a part of the solution to continue to drive economic viability in the Gwinnett market.