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Ramping it up at Laurel Park

Parking lot fix is part of upgrade before 2010 bass tournament on Lake Lanier

POSTED: December 28, 2008 5:00 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

The enlarged, four-lane boat ramp at Laurel Park is nearing completion. The ramp is the centerpiece of the improvements that have attracted a major fishing tournament in 2010.

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Laurel Park is getting a makeover.

With the new mega ramp currently under construction, Hall County now will resurface the parking lots surrounding it to handle increased traffic for future bass anglers and fishing tournaments.

"There's an area of the parking lot that's deteriorating," said Hall County Engineer Kevin McInturff. "We didn't want to open (the ramp) with a broken up parking lot."

McInturff said Hall County Public Works believes it is the material beneath the asphalt that is causing the parking lot to crumble. The department will investigate and put in new grated aggregate base and stone if necessary.

He said because of the heavy traffic the area will see, it's important to make sure the lot is structurally sound. "We're going ahead and getting it fixed," McInturff said.

After any base work is completed, the lot will be resurfaced with four inches of asphalt in preparation for heavy traffic. "That's a little thicker than normal," McInturff said.

The cost of the parking lot repairs and resurfacing will be about $94,000. The money will come from the fund for parks and marinas, which is a collection of rental and leasing fees for Lake Lanier and surrounding parks.

The construction of the new ramp began in November with the installation of a coffer dam. A coffer dam is a device that pumps water out of an area of the lake to allow concrete to be poured below the water's surface.

"The coffer dam is now removed, so the ramp is now under the water," McInturff said.

Aside from the construction of the ramp and the resurfacing of the parking lots, restrooms, a weigh-in station, a holding tank, a grandstand and seating will be built to accommodate future fishing tournaments.

McInturff said all the new additions to Laurel Park will likely be completed by February.

On Tuesday, Gov. Sonny Perdue announced that Lake Lanier will be the site of the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup bass tournament. This championship fishing event, scheduled for Aug. 5-8, 2010, will draw top bass anglers from across the country to compete for a $2.5 million purse.

"It's the Super Bowl of bass fishing," said Greg Walker, director of Hall County Parks and Leisure Services.

The multiramp Laurel Park facility is one of 10 approved Go Fish Georgia sites statewide that will serve as stops along the state's proposed bass fishing trail.

The Go Fish program was introduced by Perdue to promote and enhance boating and fishing tourism in Georgia.

McInturff said the Laurel Park projects will be completed "in plenty of time" for the Forrest Wood Cup in 2010.



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