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Johns Creek mayor tallies city triumphs during annual address

Chattahoochee High School’s orchestra and chorus

Chattahoochee High School’s orchestra and chorus stand for applause after its performance of “God Bless America,” which followed the mayor’s address April 27.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Johns Creek Mayor John Bradberry’s “State of the City Address” took on a different tone from his first, which he delivered only months after he was elected last year.

Rather than looking at what he hoped to accomplish, Bradberry described what he has accomplished over the past year to the packed audience in Chattahoochee High School’s auditorium April 27.

“While I personally will always remain loyal to the goals of our city's founding, I believe that now is an appropriate time for us to move past our city's incorporation story and recognize what I know to be true,” Bradberry said. “Johns Creek is coming into its own, and we are indisputably one of the best communities anywhere.”

In addition to members of the Johns Creek City Council, other civic leaders in the north metro Atlanta area and beyond listened in. Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson and Milton Mayor Peyton Jamison were on the front row. Georgia Senate member Shawn Still and House member Scott Hilton were also in attendance.

Johns Creek Mayor John Bradberry

Johns Creek Mayor John Bradberry delivers the “State of the City Address” April 27 at Chattahoochee High School.

A year for parks

Bradberry said the city advanced 11 sidewalk and trail projects in the past year. With recent approval of a construction contract for lower Jones Bridge Road, Bradberry said the transportation special purpose local option sales tax, or TSPLOST I, funds have been exhausted. The project’s groundbreaking is set for May 15, he said.

In 2022, the city’s Recreation and Parks Strategic Plan was also updated and some projects have been set in motion. During the park's process, Bradberry called attention to Macedonia Cemetery’s new strategic plan.

Cauley Creek Park, the city’s largest park at 203 acres, is set to open this summer. Leading up to its opening day will be “Cauley Creek Week,” July 17-22. Bradberry noted his favorite park feature, a 14-foot-wide, soft surface, rubberized trail.

“Cauley Creek Park is sure to become a coveted destination for 5K races,” Bradberry said.

The City Council also recently reviewed a master plan for a makerspace at Cauley Creek Park’s old water reclamation facility. Councilmembers also looked at next steps for an outparcel to be used for special events at the park.

Bradberry noted progress at Creekside Park, anchored by the pond behind City Hall. Last year, its master plan was finalized, and the City Council made decisions on the park’s design.

Bradberry visualized the use of an amphitheater for performances that “will play out to an audience that’s spread out all around the lake, throughout the entire park area.”

Business development

To bolster the local economy, Bradberry said the city has been honing its focus on health, wellness and innovation.

Bradberry noted the expansion of Boston Scientific, a Massachusetts-based medical device manufacturer, which will be the anchor to Town Center’s Innovation Hub.

The company will invest $65 million for a state-of-the-art logistics facility, he said, and will bring more than 300 new life science jobs to the community.

Close to Boston Scientific will be Medley, a 42-acre, mixed-use development from Avalon’s Mark Toro. The $400 million project will establish 200,000 square feet of new retail, restaurant and entertainment space within the city’s new Town Center.

Medley’s construction will begin this fall, Bradberry said, with an expected completion date of 2025.

While big projects are underway, Bradberry said there were many ribbon-cuttings for new businesses filling up once empty spaces inside the city’s shopping centers.

Community input

Bradberry stressed the importance of community input in the city’s decision making.

“The idea of bringing city elections in house is a great example of how we listen to the community and recognize everyone's need to be a part of the process,” Bradberry said. “So, if and when we do make a change, we will be prepared to have the most fair, transparent, efficient, secure and cost-effective elections possible.”

An elections task force, led by an experienced consultant, has been on the City Council’s docket in previous work sessions.

In the past year, the city also formed a task force to address stormwater issues residents face. The action complements formation of a new stormwater utility in 2021. Residents pay about $70 a year to fund improvements to stormwater infrastructure across the city. Bradberry also referenced the city’s updated, streamlined stormwater utility manual.

Coming together

Bradberry also talked about the Legacy Center project, a performing arts center that could house some of the city’s special events. He said its task force, an independent citizen-led group, has begun the formation of an “aggressive capital campaign” to raise private funds to make the project possible.

The city has implemented several volunteer-driven special events in the past year, like Diwali and Lunar New Year, intended to build camaraderie among residents.

“I couldn't be more thrilled that we're adding these new traditions in Johns Creek,” Bradberry said.

The mayor also announced the city’s Juneteenth special event. Juneteenth is a federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of the country’s enslaved African Americans. He also introduced city plans for a “unity breakfast” on next year’s MLK holiday.

“So when MLK said that he had a dream that one day, our nation would live up to the true meaning of its creed that all men are created equal — we have the power to make that dream a reality. I'd like to think that we are working in good faith to move forward in that spirit here in Johns Creek,” Bradberry said.

Reach Amber Perry at 770-847-8334. Follow her on Twitter @ambermarieperry