The heart of Lilburn has been transformed by the recent addition of a state-of-the-art city hall and library building, a new section of Main Street including two roundabouts, and sidewalks connecting downtown amenities. The city center is bustling with concerts on Main Street and visitors coming to try “Atlanta’s Best Burger,” one of the “Best Antique Stores in Gwinnett” and Gwinnett’s first distillery. Lilburn City Park and Camp Creek Greenway are within walking distance of downtown shopping and dining.
UM, LILBURN HAS A DOWNTOWN?
Mayor Johnny Crist: You bet! But if you haven’t been there in the past two or three years, you probably won’t recognize it. Main Street was redesigned three years ago and the new street gives downtown a new entrance and puts the new shared Lilburn City Hall – Gwinnett County Public Library on a prominent corner. We’ve also added new sidewalks, and Gwinnett County upgraded the water and sewer lines. As a result, nearly every square foot of available property in the downtown area is under contract for development or already under construction. Soon there will be new shops and restaurants to compliment the existing businesses. More than 225 new residences are slated for construction in Old Town, including townhouses, condos, single-family homes and senior living. As a city, we are focusing our revitalization efforts on the heart of the city, and we are going to grow in concentric circles to include the entire community.
ALL OF THE NEW HOUSING UNDER CONSTRUCTION IS APARTMENTS, TOWNHOUSES OR HOUSES WITH SMALL YARDS, UNLIKE THE EXISTING NEIGHBORHOODS WITH SPACIOUS LOTS. WHY IS THE CITY FOCUSED ON THAT TYPE OF DEVELOPMENT?
JC: Everything has changed since I bought my first house. Gwinnett County residents always wanted acreage. If you look around Gwinnett County, you see one house on a half-acre, or an acre, or more. Then the Millennials came along, and they defy the value that the Boomers placed on land. They don’t want to spend their Saturdays mowing the lawn and fixing and painting. They want to spend their Saturdays with friends and family, being in a social environment. So we are learning to build houses closer together, with less outside maintenance, and close in proximity to downtown. The City of Lilburn is welcoming apartments, townhouses and homes on smaller lots in Old Town to reflect the values of our changing culture. Yet we want people to have a feeling that their grandmother might have lived here – that sense of history that we all value. Because of the fragmented society in which we live, we want to save a little piece of family to keep us grounded.
WHAT’S YOUR IDEA OF A PERFECT DAY IN LILBURN?
JC: Grab a cup of coffee from Bus Station Bistro & Creamery, the double-decker bus-turned-restaurant at Lilburn City Park on Main Street. Rent a bike in the park and head down the Camp Creek Greenway to Lions Club Park, then to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir just down Rockbridge Road. It’s one of the largest Hindu temples in North America and one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen! Sample some Indian fare for lunch (or Jamaican, or Mediterranean, or…you name it). Ride back down the greenway and discover a few geocaches along the way. Spend time shopping for antiques, gifts and new tennis shoes. Eat “Atlanta’s Best Burger” at 1910 Public House for dinner while listening to music from an outdoor concert at Music on Main Street.