Cumming creates vibrant downtown with jail, municipal buildings

The enthusiasm is palpable in Cumming ahead of the county’s massive new 177,000 square foot jail right in the middle of historic downtown. Together with a new courthouse, the $100 million project promises to revitalize the city center into a vibrant, unique and welcoming space that will be the envy of north Georgia.

Forsyth Jail renderingsThe Cumming-Forsyth Chamber along with city and county officials recently led a media walk-through of the project. From the jail to the 150,000 square foot courthouse and huge parking decks, the project transforms downtown Cumming into a criminal justice and municipal mecca. Nearly every block of the small city is consumed.

“We studied what places like Suwanee, Woodstock and Alpharetta have done with their downtowns,” said Chamber President James McCoy. “Ours promises to be different. We’re justifiably proud of what Cumming has become. And the millennials will love it!”

“Of course the jail is the big draw,” said Forsyth Commission Chairman Pete Amos. “It’s huge! We could have built it outside of town but why? I love it right here for everyone to admire. It’s our masterpiece.”

Amos says the jail will draw people from all over. They’ll come primarily to visit incarcerated relatives. Complementary businesses will pop up. Bail bondsmen and car impound lots are just a few the city hopes to welcome.

“And when they’re out of the clink perhaps they’ll stick around for lunch,” chuckled Amos.

The new buildings complement what’s already downtown, namely the county administration building and Cumming City Hall. Commissioner Brian Tam notes an uptick in the number of disgruntled constituents making the trip to Cumming from south Forsyth.

“Our runaway growth and refusal to deny even a single zoning request creates tremendous demand for visitors to downtown Cumming,” said Tam. “They come to speak out at meetings but it’s all for naught. They usually stick around to drown their sorrows in a beer.”

Rounding out the attractions downtown is a political dinosaur exhibit at Cumming City Hall. Visitors can get a glimpse of ancient specimens still living in their native habitat. Impropriety, impeachment proceedings and even forcible removal of video bloggers are part of the act showcasing good-old-boy politics at its finest.

But Cumming’s crown jewel is still the mammoth jail. Built on a grand scale it’s certain to handle Forsyth’s burgeoning crime problem well into the future. Chamber officials, anticipating heightened interest, plan to start guided jail tours right away.

26 Responses to “Cumming creates vibrant downtown with jail, municipal buildings”

  1. A January 7, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    Lee–are you turning this site into The Onion?

  2. claudia castro January 7, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    Kudos, Stacy! What a great way to introduce yourself to the readership! A++

  3. JViv January 7, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    I laughed so hard I blew diet coke out of my nose!

  4. JP January 7, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    That was classic satire! Loved it. Thanks for a good chuckle.

  5. S Lee Guy January 7, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    @A – Ms. Zwiebel’s articles will run only once a month.

  6. A January 7, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    Lee and Stacy–loved the article. My comment about The Onion was meant as a compliment. Refreshing to read some good satire of the craziness that goes on around here. I hope she puts her talent to use covering the various city councils, things like the awful billboards in Milton, zoning issues and more.

  7. Sarah January 7, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    Oh, yes… The jail is such a GREAT HIT for the city! It’s out of place and makes cumming look AWFUL! I don’t want to live here anymore because of the jail… And I am not the only one. Good job guys! Idiots… Sheesh

  8. SDD January 7, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    Maybe if we shut down some of these ugly new restaurants in downtown Alpharetta, we could make way for our own jail. Anything Cumming can do, we can do better!

  9. Simone January 7, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    Ruins the small town feel of Cumming :-(

  10. Anthony January 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    “Rounding out the attractions downtown is a political dinosaur exhibit at Cumming City Hall. Visitors can get a glimpse of ancient specimens still living in their native habitat. ”
    Perfect!
    The Jail and courthouse are a colossal failure, but it is where the Mayor wanted it to be. Our design in 2008, outside of town, was much better suited for smart future City growth, but heh, I moving out too.

  11. lynda morgan January 7, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    yea right! Who are we kidding ! A jail and municipal buildings make a great historic downtown! Not!

  12. BubbaClem January 7, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    We’re also four-laning Castleberry Rd in anticipation of the traffic surge, and don’t forget the olfactory delight that is the Tyson slaughter plant a mere street away from the square. says 40+ year Mayor of Cumming Ford Gravitt

  13. Bob Rorke January 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

    And what family sold some of the land in the downtown area to the county?

  14. floyd r turbo January 7, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    Wow, what a drawing card to d/t Cumming. I may have to rob a 7/11 just to get a chance to eat in the jails new food court. Makes Dawson County’s “Taj Mosque hall” Justice Center look like Mayberry RFD.

  15. floyd r turbo January 7, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    I was wondering, though, couldn’t they fit the animal shelter downtown?? No? what a shame. Poor planning on their part to miss that opportunity.

  16. Kim January 7, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

    Lol. @A exactly what I thought — this reads like the Onion! Ha ha.

  17. Travis Allen January 8, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    FUNNY…thanks Stacy.

    Anyone remember when Alpharetta had a COUNTY PRISON, not just a City Jail?

    Can’t see that flying nowadays…bonus if you can tell me where the prison was located.

  18. Nate January 9, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    What a demographic to go after.

  19. Bruce January 9, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    Lived here my whole life. 29 years and I’m ready to leave. The cops already bully everyone and when this is done it will only be worse. This county is a growing joke!

  20. Bob Eskew January 9, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    Commission Amos envisions a downtown with bail bondsmen and impound lots. Really? A jail is the new crown jewel of our county seat? These guys need to be voted out of office. How will a government building and jail attract millennials?

  21. Deborah Smith January 9, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

    My grandparents moved to Forsyth when I was ten years old, back when Mathis Airport Road was a gravel lane and you could wave to the mule in the pasture next door. I remember small-town Cumming for real. It could have grown into a charming big town surrounded by green space and terrific communities. Instead it headed straight for urban sprawl. The giant downtown jail warrants a new city motto: “Welcome to Cumming! We hope to keep you here.”

  22. Colleen January 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    Travis Allen- it was in the basement of the now city hall- then alpha soda:)

  23. Nelson Muntz January 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    Next on the drawing board: stocks, a whipping post and a site for public executions. The good old days live in Forsyth County.

  24. Travis Allen January 12, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    Colleen, that was the city jail…I’m talking about the county prison.

    ;)

  25. Jan January 29, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    @ Travis Allen – The County Prison was on Highway 9 (South Main Street) just north of Wills Road but before you get to Brady Place. The Fulton County School Bus parking lot is there now.

  26. Bob Rorke February 7, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

    Rumor has it that there may soon be a municipal pol in the downtown area as well. What a mecca!

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