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City of Suwanee Wins Two Downtown Excellence Awards from Georgia Downtown Association

The City of Suwanee won Downtown Excellence Awards in the Volunteer and Organization categories at the 2018 Georgia Downtown Association Conference at Chateau Elan.

Janice and Paul Beavin and Robin and David Sullivan were named Volunteers of the Year for their work on the Suwanee Fest Planning Committee.

The Beavins and Sullivans have led a 20-member Suwanee Fest volunteer committee for the past 10 and five years, respectively. The committee meets Jannuary through October and includes sub-committees who oversee entertainment, transportation, children’s activities, vendor selection, logistics, and festival volunteers. By September, these volunteers have already given the City of Suwanee countless hours of dedicated and focused volunteer service, including close to 40 hours on the actual weekend of Suwanee Fest.

“I honestly don’t know of a more deserving set of people to receive an award for volunteerism,” said Suwanee Events & Outreach Manager Amy Doherty. “Janis, Paul, Robin, and David are the embodiment of exceptional volunteer service. We put a ton of city time, resources, energy, and effort into Suwanee Fest, but it wouldn’t be possible without these four super hero volunteers.”

The Suwanee Welcome Center partnership was selected as the Organization winner.

In a joint venture, the City of Suwanee and North Gwinnett Arts Association (NGAA) entered into a partnership in 2016 that allows the NGAA to have much-needed studio and class space in Suwanee Town Center, while also creating and staffing a welcome center for the city. This strategic partnership allows visitors and locals alike to be welcomed to Suwanee not by a boring desk with pamphlets and maps, but with a high-energy, beautiful, art-filled space in Suwanee Town Center.

“The joint welcome and arts center allows the city to have a presence that extends beyond the normal business hours,” said Marty Allen, Suwanee City Manager. “City Hall is closed on weekends, which is when a large percentage of visitors are in Town Center. A welcome center affords us the opportunity to serve as ambassadors to visitors and leveraging a collaboration with the NGAA provides a welcoming presence.”

Located at 3930 Charleston Market Street in Suwanee Town Center, the city’s annual contract with NGAA to host the welcome center in the art gallery is funded out of the hotel/motel tax fund, which is intended to go towards such programs. The 2,297 square-foot facility features studio space, art classes and workshops, open studio time, and a gallery.

The Downtown Excellence Awards recognizes and promotes the outstanding achievements of Georgia’s local downtown development and revitalizing organizations in Georgia’s communities. The Beavins, Sullivans, and NGAA staff and volunteers were honored at a reception and ceremony at Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA during the 2018 Georgia Downtown Association.

In the photo: Georgia Downtown Association President Carlee Schulte, Paul Beavins, Janis Beavins, David Sullivan, Robin Sullivan, Georgia Downtown Association Board Member Becky Smyth