A wall covered with words Flowery Branch police officers used to describe their profession greets visitors as they walk into the lobby of the city’s new police department.
The artistic feature is just one point of pride for Chief David Spillers as he shows off his part of the new Flowery Branch City Hall at 5410 Pine St.
“I couldn’t be more elated,” said Spillers.
He has a much larger evidence room, two formal interview rooms, a place to store firearms and a shift change room, among other departures from the far smaller former police department on Main Street.
“We’ve moved into the 21st century,” Spillers said.
City Manager Bill Andrew also is pleased with the new City Hall, which has moved into a new building a block away from Main Street and bounded by Railroad Avenue and Chestnut Street.
“It’s nice having everyone together,” he said during a tour of the $5 million building on Thursday, March 29.
City offices were divided between the old City Hall at 5517 Main St., the old police station at the corner of Main and Church streets, and administrative offices across from the City Hall.
In addition to city offices, the 18,000-square-foot building will feature a large community/meeting room, where the City Council will hold meetings but also where events can be held.
The room features a warehouse design, similar to industrial buildings that once stood downtown. By sitting just off the main lobby and the building’s front lawn, the entire space could be used for weddings and other functions.
Also featured are a warming kitchen and a side meeting room — which will normally be used for council executive sessions — that could be used in conjunction with events.
“We’re going to hire someone to market (the room) for us, as well as the (Historic) Depot,” Andrew said. “We don’t have the staff for that.”
The city’s smaller train depot, rented out for functions, sits at the corner of Main and Railroad Avenue.
Also near the main City Hall entrance are public restrooms — something the old City Hall lacked.
“We can have them open during events downtown,” Andrew said.
The first City Council meeting is set for 6 p.m. April 19, following a planned ribbon-cutting ceremony and 4-6 p.m. open house featuring tours and light refreshments.
What: New Flowery Branch City Hall, 5410 Pine St.
When: 4-6 p.m. April 19Planned: Ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house featuring tours and light refreshments.
The City Hall project also included extending Pine Street from Church Street to Railroad Avenue and creating additional parking spaces. The hope is shops, eateries and other businesses will line the stretch, which Andrew has a view of from his office.
“We’re probably going to move some more dirt to that site once we finish (a city) stormwater effort,” Andrew said. “We don’t want to do too much to (the site) because we don’t know what (potential tenants’) needs are going to be.”
The growing downtown area bolsters Flowery Branch’s downtown dining district. City Council recently approved an ordinance setting up the district and allowing alcohol beverages to be carried in open containers in the district.
The district is bounded by parts of Railroad Avenue, Chestnut Street, Mitchell Street, Pine Street, Gainesville Street and Knight Drive.
The move has drawn praise from Karen Ching, owner of Liberty Candy Co. and Lakeside Market on Main Street.
“I think it’s really going to finally promote downtown businesses and get the crowds coming this way a little bit. I really appreciate it,” she said at a City Council meeting.