2016 was an exciting and historic year for Johns Creek. It marked our 10th
year as an incorporated city, and it was arguably one of the busiest years in our brief history.
As we prepare for 2017 and all the promise a New Year holds, let’s review the highlights of what was accomplished this past year to better put in perspective what lays ahead for our city.
The year began with the City Council approving the city’s first Strategic Economic Development Plan
(SEDP), which will serve as a blueprint for retaining and expanding businesses within Johns Creek.
In short, we have a vision for the long-term economic sustainability of our city that will help to guide and shape our actions as we continue to ensure our community remains business friendly and on the right economic path as we move forward.
We then followed the adoption of the SEDP with approval of the 10-year Strategic Recreation and Parks Master Plan
, which provides direction and options for planning, development, and refinement of the city’s recreation and parks system through the next decade.
To that end, the city more than doubled its greenspace in 2016 to more than 300 acres with the purchases of the Cauley Creek riverfront property and a linear park in Technology Park. Our outside consultants held public meetings to include your public feedback in designing both properties
and our three new pocket parks (State Bridge Road, Bell-Boles Road, and Morton Road), which were purchased in 2015.
This past November at the ballot box, citizens overwhelmingly approved a Parks Bond in an amount of up to $40 million that will allow the city to move forward with these and other identified park improvements at an accelerated pace. Once complete, the city will have five new parks and four refurbished parks (Shakerag, Newtown, Ocee, and Autrey Mill Nature Preserve) which will look and feel brand new.
At the very top of the list of our goals is to address traffic, which is what I hear is the most pressing concern of our citizens. Following the passage of the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or TSPLOST, the city has the opportunity to collect up-to approximately $82 million in TSPLOST funds over a five-year period, which will enable us to more aggressively address our growing traffic congestion challenge. The City Council has already approved a TSPLOST project list
to improve every major traffic artery in the city and we are anxious to get started.
While not a part of TSPLOST, repaving every road in Johns Creek has and will continue to remain a high priority to help improve curb appeal and maintain property values. The city completed its second year of the neighborhood-repaving program in November. Repaving crews resurfaced 34.1 miles of streets in 26 subdivisions. The City increased funding for the repaving program from $1.5 million to $5 million in fiscal year 2016 in an effort to accelerate the repaving program timeline by a year from 2019 to 2018.
The City Council next focused on the development and approval of Johns Creek’s new mission, vision, and six key focus areas or goals, to better meet and address the needs of the city’s residents and businesses. The ultimate goal is to ensure that Johns Creek remains as one of the best cities in the U.S. in which to live, work, play, and be educated and we believe we have a framework in place to keep us moving in the right direction.
This has been an historic year
for the City of Johns Creek. From being named the safest and hardest working city in Georgia to being recognized as one of the top cities to live in the U.S. - with premier municipal services and highly acclaimed schools - we have truly accomplished a great deal in a relatively short period of time.
I am respectful of the level of effort and energy that goes into making our city an Exceptional place in which to live. Our dedicated police and fire fighters put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe, our city staff consistently goes above and beyond to maintain our high quality of life, and our City Council works diligently to keep us moving forward.
However, it all comes down to the quality of the people who comprise a community that ultimately determines its character and we are truly blessed with the best. Our diverse population is but one of our strengths. Even though we come from varied backgrounds, we share a common goal and work together to make our city exceptional in every way.
You are the ones who have truly made our city Exceptional over the last ten years. So this coming year, I encourage you to really get involved, learn a little more about the history of our area, visit one of our parks or volunteer your time in service to our city. Together, let’s capitalize on the accomplishments of 2016 to make the next ten years even more exceptional than the last.
May you and your family have a very Happy New Year!
Mayor Mike Bodker