My wife and I moved to Cumming four years ago from Miami and via Savannah. One thing we could not figure out at first was where downtown Cumming was located.
Whenever we had out-of-town visitors, we showed them the parks, Lake Lanier, shopping at the Avenue Forsyth or Vickery Village.
Then we go here and there in the community to hit up local shops and dining locations, but we avoid downtown Cumming, because it really has little to offer.
When a new courthouse is completed on Main Street in downtown Cumming in the next few years, the aggregation of government offices may be plenty for some to call it a downtown, but this community will continue to lack a public space.
Some have been irked, and I hear this one a lot, by the large jail expansion, calling it an eyesore.
While a downtown visitors’ center seems completed near the Dairy Queen, it’s unclear when it will be operating and what it will promote.
Our local theater, the Cumming Playhouse, is a gem, but hidden behind a lackluster strip mall.
Forsyth County may be lacking a sense of community and the only central location we call downtown has been overlooked or completely lost in planning.
Most downtowns in neighboring communities benefit from a nearby college.
Athens and Dahlonega come to mind, while others are planned out, like Alpharetta, historic Roswell, Buford, Woodstock, Norcross or Suwanee.
All these places offer a central place to do things.
On the other hand, our county is a place defined mainly by the Avenue Forsyth.
The shops, in walking distance of each other, make the development a talking point, a meeting place for the community.
It’s no wonder that exit 13 off Ga. 400 has become a destination for dining and shopping.
Vickery Village has a glimpse of hope. Although in a hidden location, the west Forsyth community is also a fast growing region and as the economy recovers, I believe this area will blossom to what it was intended. We recently reported how Rick Tanner’s Bar and Grill plans to open a brewery here and put Forsyth on the beer map.
Beer does tend to bring people together, especially if it’s good, which I’m sure this will be.
Would you want Forsyth to thrive and be cool and hip and have plenty of things for residents to do? What do you think will make a great community? Where should our downtown be?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll print your thoughts next week.