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‘I see the future:’ Officials cut ribbon for Cumming City Center, continue with next phase of construction
city center ribbon cutting
Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the City Center on Friday, June 24. Photo courtesy city of Cumming.

Officials and residents gathered off Canton Highway to celebrate the end of the city of Cumming’s construction phase for the Cumming City Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, June 24.

City of Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow and residents celebrated alongside officials like Forsyth Central High School Principal Josh Lowe, State Rep. Lauren McDonald III and Gov. Brian Kemp.

Charlie Westbrook, honorary mayor of Cumming, was also in attendance and gave the project a thumbs-up.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony signaled the end of the city’s construction phase and the beginning of individual tenant buildouts at each retail store, restaurant, brewery or office space.

Some notable retailers that have signed leases with the City Center include Good Vibes Nutrition Inc., Mary Lucille’s bakery, Los Rios Cantina and Crooked Culture Brewery.

With the project’s proximity to Forsyth Central High School, Lowe said he was excited to continue a partnership with the city through the City Center.

“In a time that sees so many young students spending time in so many places, it excites me to know that we have a location so near our school where they’re not just allowed to be, but where they’re invited … and where they’re wanted,” Lowe said.

Lowe said he was looking forward to game nights where people can catch a meal at one of the City Center’s restaurants, the Flash of Crimson Band and other fine arts programs using the Lou Sobh Amphitheater and retailers offering student internships.

He also said the golf course at the venue, The Course @ Tin Cup Grill, might give him “a better chance to compete against or outdrive the mayor if I … play against him.”

“Probably not though,” he said.

Similar to sentiments from other officials, Lowe said he was most excited to see how the City Center will “enhance all that our community offers” and grow as the “heart” of the city of Cumming. 

city center ribbon cutting
Photo courtesy city of Cumming.

In the midst of his reelection campaign, Kemp said he has traveled to many different towns and cities in Georgia with his family, wondering why Georgians were so proud to call their specific places of residence "home."

He said he discovered that the places with a strong sense of identity and community “flourish the most,” and he was sure the City Center would reinforce “that strong sense of community” in Cumming.

“It has put that proud identity in a physical form of this beautiful space, and it’s put up a welcome sign not only for people here, but for people around the state and from afar to visit,” Kemp said.

He said he was also happy to celebrate the economic success that the City Center will bring to Cumming and the surrounding region, bringing more jobs and an enhanced quality of life in a place with a “small town heart and a big story spirit.” 

city center ribbon cutting
Gov. Brian Kemp spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the City Center on Friday, June 24. Photo courtesy city of Cumming.

In some final comments, Brumbalow acknowledged the hardships he and his team faced since breaking ground on the project in August 2019.

After breaking ground, the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic which halted many aspects of the project’s construction.

 “I’ve kind of likened [the project] to a woman having a three-year labor and trying to deliver an elephant,” Brumbalow said. “As hard as you want to push and push, you just can’t quite get it there.”

But now, almost three years later, he said he was glad he and his team persevered.

A longtime resident of Cumming, Brumbalow said that he originally ran for Mayor because he wanted to rekindle a spark that he thought had “dampened” in recent years.

“It was a beautiful, magical spark of community,” he said.

He accredited the City Center as a project that would rekindle the spark and now, looking at the fruits of his, developers’ and contractors’ labor, he could see the spark beginning to burn again.

“But I don’t just see turf and concrete and bricks and stone,” Brumbalow said. “I see the future.”

He said he could see families at concerts and movie nights, young couples going on first dates at restaurants, teens smiling for selfies “well, anywhere I guess.”

He could see generations of families celebrating birthdays, businesspeople stopping by for quick meals, art lovers perusing the murals and people “getting their steps in” along the boardwalks and trails.

“But I see us, all of us, this community that I’ve loved my entire life, I see us coming together right here in our own backyard,” Brumbalow said.