Sunday, July 1, 2012, was an historic day for the community that Paul Duke envisioned some 40 years ago.
The southwest corner of the county once referred to as a part of unincorporated Norcross, has stepped out of the shadows of its neighbor to the east and now has an identity all its own - the City of Peachtree Corners.
And on Sunday, a Founders Day Parade filled with floats, marching drum lines, and flag-waving politicians riding in convertible cars added to the celebration. It was a day many in the community had long awaited.
"This is an historic event," said the city's mayor, Mike Mason, addressing the crowd of the citizens of Peachtree Corners after the parade. "But it is a joining as much as it is a single event. Now we get to make decisions ourselves, we get to decide how we do it."
"I'm so excited about the new city," said Gwinnett County District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard, who also makes her home in the new city and supported the city initiative.
Howard, along with U.S. Representative Rob Woodall, state representatives Tom Rice, David Shafer, Pedro Marin, Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash, Gwinnett County School Board member Mary Kay Murphy, (Dist. 3) and the mayors from the nearby cities of Berkeley Lake (Lois Salter), Dunwoody (Mike Davis), Johns Creek, (Mike Bodker) and Bucky Johnson of Norcross were on hand to celebrate Peachtree Corners' celebration.
"I'm glad to be here," said Johnson, moments before he stepped on stage to read a proclamation to the city. "I'm excited for the new city and am looking forward to creating partnerships and collaborating to work together for the good of both communities."
Nash welcomed the new city. "I'm pleased for the new city and very happy with the cooperative relationship we have forged from the beginning and hope it continues," she said before taking the stage to read a proclamation from the county.
Addressing the crowd Woodall said, "Pay attention, you may not see this (a new city forming) again in your lifetime. It's America choosing its own destiny."
Rice, who lives in Peachtree Corners and was instrumental in introducing legislation that led to the forming of the new city, read Gov. Nathan Deal's proclamation in which he congratulated Mayor Mason and the city's six Council members, Phil Sadd (Post 1), Jay Lowe (Post 2), Alex Wright (Post 3), Jeanne Aulbach (Post 4), Lorri Christopher (Post 5) and Weare Gratwick (Post 6).
And now the City of Peachtree Corners officially begins, its long journey toward cityhood is finally over - its future, and Paul Duke's vision, awaits.
Peachtree Corners is now Gwinnett County's 16th city - and its largest. At 16.91 square miles, the city's borders stretch from the Chattahoochee River on the west and north, to Buford Highway on the east and to the DeKalb County line to the south.
It shares borders with the cities of Norcross, Berkeley Lake, Duluth, Johns Creek and Dunwoody. The new city's population numbers over 34,000 and has over 20,600 registered voters.