Sugar Hill residents and city officials celebrated the completion and opening of the first six miles of the Sugar Hill Greenway on Wednesday, June 1, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ceremony was held on a portion of the greenway between Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Level Creek Road. In addition to the ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees took their first community walk along this stretch of the new greenway.
The first phase of the Sugar Hill Greenway begins in downtown Sugar Hill, goes up Level Creek Road to Sugar Hill Elementary School and E.E. Robinson Park North. It then cuts over to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and continues up Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to E.E. Robinson Park South and the Gwinnett Church before heading back through green space to Level Creek Road.
“The Sugar Hill Greenway is an exciting project in large part due to the immense support from our community and community groups,” Sugar Hill council member Mason Roszel said. “This initial phase of the Greenway, that is now open, provides a community asset that promotes healthy living, a more walkable and connected city, and preservation of our beautiful greenspace.”
The demand for more greenspace and parks was brought to light when residents were polled about what they thought Sugar Hill needed more of during the process of putting together Sugar Hill’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan. The official planning of the Sugar Hill Greenway started in 2014 and is estimated to cost between $17 million to $20 million upon completion using SPLOST funds. The goal of the greenway has always been to connect the community of Sugar Hill.
“Our city’s new greenway is another staple to bring our community together and make our city feel smaller,” said Alvin Hicks, a Sugar Hill city council member. “Being out on the Greenway has a feel that you are tucked away on a quiet rural country trail. I feel that our greenway will forever attract local walkers and bikers that will allow our beautiful community to be showcased and appreciated.”
The newly opened part of the greenway, as well as future portions of the project, use land that is owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation that was originally intended for the failed Northern Arc project. The Northern Arc project, also known as the outer perimeter, would have stretched from Interstate 75 near Cartersville to I-85 near the Mall of Georgia. The project received strong opposition and ultimately never came to fruition.
The Sugar Hill Greenway will eventually be a part of a larger network of trails that cover Gwinnett County. The greenway will connect parks like E.E. Robinson North, E.E. Robinson South, Gary Pirkle Park, the Sugar Hill Golf Course and future parks like the Gold Mine Park and the Retreat at Orr’s Ferry.
The project has long been in the making and has had many champions in the community such as the Friends of the Sugar Hill Greenway and the Sugar Hill Running Club.
“The Sugar Hill Greenway is a community driven-project, and I want to thank the Friends of the Sugar Hill Greenway and Sugar Hill Running Club for keeping the vision of the Greenway alive over the last several years,” said Sugar Hill Mayor Brandon Hembree. “These groups have organized meetings and weekly runs since the idea of the Greenway was originally conceived.”
In the fall, residents can join the mayor and city council for the opening of the new Gold Mine Park off Level Creek Road, as well as an additional two miles of the greenway.
For more information on the Sugar Hill Greenway, visit sugarhillgreenway.com.
Featured photo by Lisa Stott.