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Welcome to Gwinnett

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Chairman NashTo get 2013 off to a great start, it is fitting that this issue of Gwinnett Magazine focuses on newcomers. Even for those like me who have lived here all our lives, the start of a new year means a time to take a fresh look at our community.

For new arrivals, you may still be adjusting to life in Gwinnett County. If you grew up in the South, you won”t be surprised to hear “y”all”# and “yes ma”am.”# But even if you come from elsewhere in Georgia or the United States, or even from another part of the world, you are enriching the fabric of our community. I am glad you have chosen to be here.

In 1970, Gwinnett County was mostly rural and farm-oriented – mostly bedroom communities that offered a simpler way of life away from the big city of Atlanta. Our population then was a little over 70,000.

Today well over 800,000 of us live on those same 437 square miles. Most still live in unincorporated areas, but now our whole county has become a vibrant and dynamic urban community with upscale housing, quality shopping, and professional sports and entertainment – right here in Gwinnett. I get a kick out of it when my friends from all over the metro area tell me about coming to the Arena at Gwinnett Center for a concert or sporting event!

You will hear hundreds of different languages spoken here and find food choices from all over the world. Throughout the year, you will discover numerous festivals inviting you to experience other cultures and celebrate the rich diversity that makes life here so interesting.

We”re blessed with a wonderful climate that allows outdoor activity most of the year. As someone who grew up riding horses, I am happy to say we even have equestrian trails in our parks where you can ride to your heart”s content. And, of course, our extensive trail system includes plenty of choices to hike or bike on as well. Atlanta is still a short drive away, and you can fly to and from almost anywhere from there.

Our schools, parks, libraries, public safety agencies, and even county finances have garnered national recognition. We”re growing for a reason: this is an outstanding place to live, work, play, and raise a family.

I am not a newcomer here, yet every day I learn something new and exciting about Gwinnett County. So if you”re making a new beginning here, for whatever reason, I encourage you to get involved in the life of your new community. A great place to start is by learning more about your local county government at www.gwinnettcounty.com.