Our Community: Small Town Heart, Big City Spirit
From fall fun at the Cumming Country Fair & Festival…
To summer afternoons splashing at the Cumming Aquatic Center…
And evenings of top-notch music and theatre at the School Street Playhouse…
The City of Cumming is a community bustling with vibrant life, yet still remaining rich in history and tradition…and there’s plenty more to come!
A Leader from the Beginning
The City of Cumming was first chartered by the State of Georgia in 1834, and in 1845, a second charter was issued designating the City of Cumming as a mayor and council form of government. Through the years, the City of Cumming has laid much of the groundwork for the Cumming-Forsyth County community to become what is today – one of the most popular places in the entire country to live and work.
In its early days, the City of Cumming was primarily agricultural, providing a respite for the many farming families of Forsyth County. The City was home to some of the County’s first retail establishments, such the county’s first gas station to use electric gas pumps, the Sinclair Station. This downtown station was purchased and restored by the City in 2011.
Cumming was also home to some of the county’s first educational facilities. The Cumming Schoolhouse was built in 1923, serving students of all grade levels for many years and later as the Board of Education Office. When the building was slated for demolition in the late 1990s, the City of Cumming purchased and restored it. In 2000, the facility was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the building houses the Cumming Playhouse, the Cumming-Forsyth Historical Society and Tam’s Backstage Restaurant.
In the late 1970s, City of Cumming leaders laid the foundation for Forsyth County to become one of the most popular and fastest-growing counties in the country when they secured the area’s first water withdrawal contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This decision to begin withdrawing water from Lake Lanier could be the single most important decision made in Forsyth County’s history since.
Also in the 1970s, the City of Cumming became a leader in Recreation with the construction of City Park, Forsyth County’s first public park. In the years that followed, the City’s Recreation Department added the county’s first public swimming and baseball fields at City Park. In later years, the Dobb’s Creek Gymnasium and additional sports fields were added. In 2011, the Cumming Aquatic Center opened, offering state-of-the-art aquatic facilities for every need, and in 2016, City Park was redesigned to feature a Recreation Center with community conference facility; dance, fitness and art studios; and modern playground and picnic facilities.
In response to Desert Storm in the early 1990s, City leaders worked with businesses and private donors to create the Veterans War Memorial as a site to honor all of Forsyth County’s veterans and active duty military personnel. The memorial remains the site of yearly Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies.
In 1995, the Cumming Fairgrounds was created. In October of that year, the City presented the first Cumming Country Fair & Festival as a five-day event. Over the years, the Fair has grown to become the largest single event in Forsyth County every year. Now held for 11 days every October, the Fair typically draws anywhere from 175,000 to 210,000 people each year. In addition to the Fair & Festival, the Fairgrounds provides a venue for events almost every weekend of the year, including the annual July 4 celebration, Taste of Forsyth, rodeos, Christmas festivals, a Farmers’ Market in summer and early fall, high school graduations, and numerous private events.
The City Today
There’s no doubt that the City of Cumming has continued to grow and evolve over the years. Today’s City of Cumming is a vibrant, bustling place full of life and activity for residents and visitors of every age.
Here’s a list of the many amenities and attractions offered by the City of Cumming:
- Cumming Aquatic Center: Offering two indoor pools and a full outdoor water park, the Cumming Aquatic Center provides a wide range of activities from swim lessons, aquatic and land-based fitness classes, leisure and lap swimming, party rentals, and competitive swim organizations.
- Cumming Fairgrounds: So much more than just the Cumming Country Fair & Festival, the Cumming Fairgrounds venue plays host to numerous community and private events year-round.
- School Street Playhouse: Opened in 2004, the School Street Playhouse (formerly the Cumming Playhouse) provides top-notch live entertainment every year, ranging from large-scale Broadway musicals to intimate concerts and plays.
- Cumming Recreation Center: Opened in 2016, the Recreation Center offers space for the Cumming Recreation Department’s dance, art and fitness programs, as well as a 4,900-square-foot multi-purpose room that is available for community rentals, and a modern playground and picnic pavilion.
- Dobbs Creek: This gymnasium facility is home to the Cumming Recreation’s youth basketball and gymnastics programs. It is surrounded by several athletic fields utilized by Cumming and Forsyth County youth teams.
- Mary Alice Park: Located just minutes from downtown Cumming, Mary Alice is a seasonal park on the shores of beautiful Lake Lanier. The park is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends only in the spring and daily during summer and early fall.
- Veterans War Memorial: The Cumming Veterans War Memorial was created in the early 1990s as a way to show support to our nation’s troops deployed in Desert Storm. The memorial honors fallen Cumming and Forsyth County service men and women, and serves as the site of Cumming’s annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies.
- Historic Sinclair Station, Pool Hall, and Brannon-Heard House: Focused on preservation of the few remaining historic sites in the City, leaders have purchased and restored the Sinclair Gas Station (leased to Cumming Cigar Company) and Pool Hall (leased to a genealogical and historical education organization), as well as the Brannon-Heard House (leased to the Sawnee Association of the Arts as a public Art Center with displays, art classes, gift shop and café).
The City of Cumming also provides water and sewer services through its Cumming Utilities Department to approximately 1/3 of the residences and businesses in Forsyth County; police services to residents within the City Limits; and business licensing and other commercial and residential property services through its Planning & Zoning Department.
Always good stewards of public monies, City of Cumming leaders have worked hard over the years to ensure that all these services and amenities are provided without having to levy any municipal property taxes and without accruing any debt.
On the Horizon
As one of the fastest growing communities in the nation, Cumming continues to evolve and add new amenities for residents and visitors.
In the next few years, Mayor Troy Brumbalow and City Council will establish the Cumming City Center near downtown Cumming that will feature shopping, dining and small venues for live entertainment. Mayor and Council members hope the City Center will serve as a gathering spot for our community and visitors from surrounding counties, while helping to bring some of the small-town, Southern charm back to the City of Cumming.
The City Center will be located on property situated between Hwy. 20 and Sawnee Drive, behind Forsyth Central High School. Construction of facilities that will be owned by the City and leased to retail and dining establishments is slated to begin in summer of 2020 with the City Center grand opening in summer of 2021. The development will provide a steady income stream for the City of Cumming to help ensure that municipal property taxes never have to be levied here, while also providing lease-holders with in-demand locations as well as the stability and security that comes with leasing from the City.
Mayor Brumbalow and Council also plan to increase the number of community events held by the City at the Cumming Fairgrounds. Among the new events that have been added since 2018 are Food Truck Fridays, Fridays at the Fairgrounds, a summer music festival series, an all-day July 4th celebration, and new Cumming Christmas Parade through downtown ending with a Christmas Festival at the Fairgrounds.
There’s no doubt that the City of Cumming has always been and will continue to be a placed filled with both small town heart and big city spirit!