How do you create a sense of community in a town that spans four counties, several zip codes and two interstate exits?
That question was again on the Braselton Town Council’s mind at its planning session on April 1.
Council members were asked to come up with a list of long-term goals for the town and describe what their ideal Braselton would look like. The concept of having “One Braselton” was raised multiple times throughout the session.
“This is still an unfinished vision of mine,” said outgoing Mayor Bill Orr, who recently announced he won’t seek re-election this year.
Orr said he wants the town to feel like “one big neighborhood” where residents are connected and regularly interact with one another.
“I think we’re doing it, we’re on our way, but we’re not there yet,” he said.
Council member Peggy Slappey echoed that and offered a few potential solutions. She proposed the town consider pursuing a city school system in the distant future, a major task that would require state legislation to get a charter.
“In the connectivity of communities, that would be a huge driver,” said Slappey.
More immediately, Slappey proposed pursuing the construction of a sports complex.
“That brings the community together,” she said, noting there’s a big need for practice and sporting fields in the community.
Later in the meeting, town manager Jennifer Scott noted that recreation programs and facilities can help bring people together in a community, but the issue in Braselton is how to fund a larger recreation program. She noted that it can’t be done with recreation funds alone.
Several council members also discussed creating a sense of community through art, possibly with a local theatre partnership or other performing arts groups.
The council also touched on a number of other topics including upkeep and code enforcement; consistent public art across town; traffic concerns on Hwy. 53; the need for additional staff as the town continues to grow; increased walkability; the need to attract unique retail, restaurants and businesses; and diversified housing options.