Towne Center:Kelly supports the creation of a Towne Center for Snellville. However, unlike her opponent Kelly does NOT believe that a Towne Center should be the SOLE focus of the administration. In addition, Kelly believes that we must focus on what can be done now to improve our City not just 20-30 years from now. Contrary to claims the City of Snellville has been working on developing a Towne Center since 2002. Kelly is confident that the City can continue to take steps towards the creation of a civic area without spending taxpayer dollars. Kelly would like to utilize grants and private donations to build a Community Center (similar to the drawing to the right) which will house performing arts stages,conference rooms and spaces for after school programs for our youth on the Wisteria Property that the City owns. In addition there is room on this property to turn the "bridge to no where" into a positive focal point of the City. The bridge is the exact dimensions of a stage that the City has looked into constructing on the Town Green. If this project were moved to this location the "bridge to no where" could be utilized and save the City hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is also room on this property for centralized parking. Kelly would like to begin a shuttle service around the shopping district of Snellville to ease traffic concerns. In Bender's 20-30 year vision for a Towne Center many vibrant businesses that are currently in operation have been demolished simply because they do not fit into the "plan". Kelly believes that we must work with these businesses and build upon them not condemn them . In 2010, Jacobs, Jordon and Gould conducted a feasibility study which found that the Towne Center retail space proposed in Bender's vision cannot be sustained any time in the near future. Instead JJG recommended that the City focus its efforts on road improvements. Regardless of the City's vision Kelly believes that it is time to stop spending hundreds of thousands of dollars studying a Towne Center. Instead it is time to take action. Part of this action must be addressing the issues of zoning North Road and passing the ordinance which will create the overlay district for North Road that the City has already funded.
Economic Development: Kelly has a real and attainable plan to promote economic development in the City. We must focus on both the businesses that are already operating in the City and attracting new businesses to renovate our countless vacant buildings. To recognize and show existing businesses and their dedication to our community Kelly has proposed the Business Appreciation Program that was passed by the Mayor and Council. Kelly also believes that the City can afford to reduce the rate of business taxes paid by small business owners without burdening our residents.
In order to attract new businesses to Snellville Kelly has drafted an economic incentives plan that will provide businesses that renovate vacant buildings in our City or create new jobs for our citizens reductions in licensing fees and permit fees.In addition Kelly has proposed partnering with local colleges such as Le Cordon Bleu to offer incentives to attract new chefs to open non-corporate restaurants in Snellville.
Finally, Kelly has supported the formation of various economic organizations in Snellville such as the Snellville Trade and Tourism Association and the Snellville Redevelopment Authority. What the City needs now is a clear plan or policy on how these different organizations will operate in concert with one another. Kelly has asked staff to draft such a policy and present it to Council. Kelly has also supported the Entrepreneurship program developed by Snellville's Economic Development Director.
Public Safety: As a former prosecutor Kelly understands the importance of public safety. While serving on Council, Kelly has supported increasing the number of Snellville police officers, increasing the starting salary for police officers, placing lap top computers in police vehicles, the building of the new police department, purchasing new police vehicles, and a take home police vehicle policy. Thanks to the hard work of our police and chief overall crime in Snellville has decreased.
However, if you look at the statistics the type of crime in Snellville has changed and overall property crimes in Snellville have increased over the past few years. As an attorney in court on a daily basis, Kelly sees first hand the crimes in Snellville. Crimes to our homes and our businesses are increasing. The high amount of break-ins have caused some businesses to question and even stop locking doors. To review crime data in your area visit www.crimereports.com. We must do more to improve public safety. The City must fund all of the police positions that we have authorized. In addition we as a community must become more aware of ways to prevent crime. Kelly believes that the City needs to take a more proactive approach in teaching crime prevention techniques and other neighborhood watch program materials to our HOAs.
Promotion of the Arts: Studies show that promoting the arts in a City has a positive impact on economic development. Kelly has always been a supported of the Arts. Kelly has been active in forming organizations to organize the different facets of art in Snellville and has previously worked with the board of the New London Theater. Kelly has created and had the Mayor and Council pass a program that will allow local artists to display their artwork on the blank walls of City Hall. In addition Kelly has authored an Arts in public Places ordinance that will allow new developments to contribute to an Art fund similar to the tree bank fund or in lieu of a contribution the developer may chose to incorporate some form of art into the new development. This fund will be used purchase artwork and sculptures throughout the City. Kelly is also part of the new Snellville Artist Association which is working on efforts to organize an fine arts festival in the City. Finally, Kelly, fellow artists and business owners have been working on creating Snail Sculptures for Snellville similar to the cows of Chicago and the Bulldogs of Athens. These fiberglass sculptures will be painted by local artists and displayed at local businesses throughout the City. Proceeds from this would go to purchase a sculpture for the City. Perhaps to place sculptures throughout the City in our vacant buildings so that we can beautify them and attract developers attention. Most importantly, Kelly would like to develop a Community Center in Snellville that can house the performances of the New London Theater and the Gwinnett Ballet as well as provide space for art classes, concerts and exhibits. In other cities community centers attract any where from 5,000 to 80,000 patrons a year. Studies show that over 80% of those patrons then go and shop and eat in nearby stores and restaurants. So, any promotion of the arts in Snellville will also promote economic development.
Parks System: Kelly believes that we must make improvements to Briscoe Park a priority. The park is the jewel was one time the jewel of our City but it now needs work. We have the money to make needed improvements available to us through the use of SPLOST funds but the City has continued to place the park on the back burner. We cannot continue. Kelly would also like to see the City apply for federal grants to create a system of passive parks and green spaces throughout the City without spending taxpayers' money beginning with the development of the passive park on Oak Road. Finally, Kelly has been in contact with the University of Georgia School of Ecology about Baker's Rock. Kelly would like to see the City work in partnership with UGA to create classes and an ecology center at Baker's Rock while preserving the endangered wildlife there.
School System: One of the most important factors a person looks at when deciding to come to a community is the school system. Unfortunately the City of Snellville government has no control over the school system here. But that does not mean we cannot work together to assure that Snellville schools are the best that they can be. In assuring that our schools over the best to our children there are matters outside of the school system that the City can control that will have a direct impact. For instance, Kelly supports using Splost funds to create a connected path of sidewalks along Highway 78 to South Gwinnett High School so that our children are not walking on a dangerous and busy highway. One of the biggest complaints about our community is the lack of things for our youth to do after school. Kelly would like to partner with local churches and South Gwinnett High School to utilize Kelly's proposed community center to offer after school programs for our children.
Our Roads: Kelly realizes the importance of maintaining our roadways. If the City has roads with pot holes and in the need of pavement then no resident will want to move here and no business will want to open here. In this year's budget 100% of the money that was set aside for paving was cut by Barbara Bender to pay for a reduction in property taxes. Kelly did not support cutting paving from the City's budget especially when many roads have not been paved or repaired in years. Kelly knew that there were other non-essential areas that could have been reduced in the budget.
Ethics in Government: At one time Snellville was considered a City of Ethics. Since Kelly has been elected to Council she has presented resolutions and ordinances to preserve ethics in government in Snellville. In addition, Kelly supports the creation of an independent ethics commission to handle ethics complaints filed by citizens against elected officials. Currently there is no process for a citizen to file an ethics complaint against an elected official. Therefore, there is no accountability for Snellville's government except at election time.