Duluth’s Red Clay Theatre was filled with more than 200 local government officials, private developers, business leaders, community promoters, and urban planners for the Annual Gwinnett Redevelopment Forum hosted by Partnership Gwinnett and The Council for Quality Growth.
The Oct. 11 event provided an opportunity for Duluth to showcase downtown improvements and attractions that include the Red Clay Theatre where legendary music promoter Eddie Owen presents concerts. Owen, who welcomed guests to the theatre, surprised attendees by introducing Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins who performed three of his songs.
The forum featured interactive discussions about energizing redevelopment in Gwinnett, creating the infrastructure for future investment, and using redevelopment to attract young, educated professionals, according to a press release issued by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
Forum sponsors were the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (CID), the Gwinnett Village CID, and the cities of Duluth, Norcross, Snellville, and Sugar Hill. Successful downtown redevelopment efforts by the cities of Decatur, Smyrna and Suwanee were highlighted in the program. The forum is an economic development initiative of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
“Redevelopment offers the chance to refresh and revitalize areas in Gwinnett that need a boost,” stated Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash, in the press release. “As leaders in Gwinnett, we know how important it is to have in place policies and practices to promote revitalization and support the future of our county.”
Charles Waldheim, chair of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, was the keynote speaker. Waldheim spoke about the role of landscaping, more so than architecture, in shaping a community.
Duluth Economic Development Manager Chris McGahee reported on the forum at the Oct. 16 meeting of the Duluth Downtown Development Authority. The speakers and panelists were “really good,” McGahee said.
Forum participants got “a closeup look at downtown Duluth for [future] redevelopment,” he said, and “we also got to showcase the sound system” at the Red Clay Theatre. After the half-day forum ended, visitors shopped and ate lunch downtown, he said. Forum participants were provided with vouchers for lunch at restaurants near the theatre.