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Here’s what’s changed with the Cumming City Center plans so far
City Center
The latest plans for the Cumming City Center, which is set to start construction next spring.

Drivers going down Canton Highway (Hwy. 20) may have noticed crews moving dirt near Forsyth Central High School for the new Cumming City Center, but that’s not all that’s been going on with the project recently.

As crews on the ground work to get the site ready, those behind the scenes are getting plans together to make the city center a reality.

Jennifer Archer, city center property manager, said a lot has been done and she’s been hearing a lot of excitement from the community.

“Most of the feedback we have received has been very positive. People from all over the county seem to be excited to have this unique space coming to their community,” Archer said. “While we do have some other larger retail developments in the county, the Cumming City Center will be special in that it will provide so much more than just shopping and dining. The green spaces, the water features, the walking trails, the pocket parks and amphitheater spaces will allow for so many more unique experiences.”

A campaign promise of Mayor Troy Brumbalow, the city center will be located on Canton Highway and will abut Forsyth Central on a 75-acre plot of land. The development is planned to have a classic “Main-street America” theme that will feature an amphitheater, a trail system, parks, space for businesses and a lake with two fountains.

Across Canton Highway, about 14 acres will also be donated to the city and will include other walking trails.

Forsyth Central and the city center will share a parking lot located northwest of the school’s football stadium. Though the center will largely be green space and businesses, the Cumming Police Department and the city’s municipal court will also move to the development.

“We think this will become a true gathering place for the entire community, and it seems most people are excited to have a facility like that right here in Cumming rather than having to drive to other cities to experience those hometown, memory-making moments with their families and friends,” Archer said.

Archer said one part of the plans that has changed was a proposed theater, which is no longer in the works after the Forsyth County Board of Education announced an upcoming performing arts center on Dahlonega Highway.

“While we will still have a building that looks like a theater, it will have a repurposed function as space for office over retail,” Archer said. “In other words, it will look like a theater from the outside but will actually be retail and office space on the inside.”

Another new feature is a plan for a grand staircase from the street level to the amphitheater, which will lead to a fountain that will give locals a unique way to get involved with the project.

“The fountain will be surrounded by bricks that the community will be able to purchase,” Archer said. “We are still in the process of working out all the details of this community-driven ‘buy-a-brick’ program, but we wanted to offer this as a way for residents and businesses to all have an opportunity to ‘leave their signature,’ so to speak, on the City Center for future generations.”

Archer said some of the next steps are hiring a general contractor. Bids for the project were due to the city by Oct. 18. Construction is expected to begin next spring and the city center is slated to open August of 2021.