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Around the Region: Man Rides Kick Scooter on I-75, Simon Property Gives Up on Gwinnett Mall and Work Begins on GA 400/I-85 Interchange

A look at top Patch stories from around Georgia.

– Cartersville Patch

Callers notified deputies of the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office of a man traveling on the interstate by way of a kick scooter at 1 a.m. in the morning. William Travis Empie, 23, was found riding a Razor-type scooter just before an exit ramp on Interstate 75 near exit 283.

According to a police report, Empie stated to officers that he was heading home and then began to act nervous when asked if he had any weapons. Empie told officers he had a knife and paperweight however he pulled away from a pat down. Officers report that Empie resisted arrest and was taken to the ground. A Taser was pulled but not utilized as Empie was “finally” handcuffed.

Officers report that Empie, who was now seated in the front of the police car, threw a small pill bottle back into the highway and allegedly stated, “That’s not my pill bottle. The officer must have put it in my pocket when ya’ll were fighting with me.”

In addition to the pills, classified as a “dangerous drug,” Empie was found to have box cutters and a BB handgun. He was arrested and charged with two counts of felony obstruction of officers and two charges related to medication.

– Duluth Patch

Simon Property Group, which also owns the Mall of Georgia and Discover Mills, has “disposed of its interest in” Gwinnett Place Mall. In response to this “disposal of interest” the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District CID issued the following statement:

“Those of us in this part of metro Atlanta and Gwinnett County have witnessed during the past several years how Simon Property Group’s corporate decisions have ultimately led to the current state of the mall. All the while the CID has proactively planned for this and other possible scenarios, working closely with our partners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Gwinnett County to remain poised for future developments. The Gwinnett Place CID is encouraged about the potential for continued success at the mall. This announcement is a unique, positive opportunity for redevelopment and revitalization focused on this strategically important asset in our community.”

Gwinnett Place Mall is currently only 83 percent occupied. The mall opened in 1984 and has weathered the opening of two nearby malls and a population change to more than 20 percent of area residents being foreign born.

Buckhead Patch

Work on the I-85 and GA 400 interchange on Tuesday, March 13. According to a GDOT news release, contractors began staging equipment and placing barrier walls on the shoulders.

The project is slated to reconstruct the interchange by providing connector ramps from 400 southbound to I-85 northbound and from I-85 southbound to 400 northbound. As part of the project a pedestrian trail will be constructed from Cheshire Bridge Road to Lenox Road and will include a bridge across the North Fork Peachtree Creek.

According to a news release, lane closures on I-85 and GA 400 will only be allowed in the overnight hours and on the weekends. Lane closures on arterial roadways will include Buford Highway, Cheshire Bridge Road and Sidney Marcus Boulevard and will take place during evening hours only. The HOV ramps at Lindbergh Drive will be closed for up to six months.

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