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Laurel Park ramp is ready for boaters

POSTED: April 24, 2009 11:08 p.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

The recently completed boat ramp at Laurel Park will be ready for use after floating booms are removed. The newly remodeled facility also will play host to fishing tournaments.

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The newly minted Laurel Park Boat Ramp is now open to the public in time for a sunny spring weekend.

Hall County Public Works finished construction on the four-lane mega-ramp to accompany the existing four-lane boat ramp at Laurel Park.

"It just (Friday) became not an active construction zone anymore," Hall County Parks and Leisure Director Greg Walker said.

This is the first mega-ramp completed under Gov. Sonny Perdue’s Go Fish Georgia Initiative.

Though the ramp already is open to the public, the grand opening of the facility is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 6. Perdue will attend the ceremony.

"We’re doing sort of a soft opening," Walker said. "Instead of making the public wait until the governor comes to officially open the ramp, we are trying to make everybody have a great place to launch their boats for the next couple weeks until we do the official opening."

The ramps will close on the afternoon of May 5 to prepare for the ceremony.

The mega-ramp is 350 feet in length and sits about 1,048 feet above sea level, which will give boaters lake access even during drought conditions.

The lake’s record low water level is 1,050.79 feet above sea level. It currently is at 1,063.65 feet.

"It’s the most accessible ramp on the lake," Walker said.

The project also included construction of a fishing tournament staging area, restrooms and additional parking. The ramps are available for boater use all day, and there is no user fee.

The project is a joint venture between Hall County and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the State of Georgia Governor’s Go Fish Program Grant.

The construction of the ramp and associated improvements cost approximately $1.1 million, with DNR offsetting $400,000.

Laurel Park is one of 10 mega-ramp sites on a bass fishing trail intended to lure large fishing tournaments to the state.

The Go Fish program is designed to promote and enhance boating and fishing tourism throughout the state as an economic engine. Fishing contributes approximately $1.5 billion to Georgia’s economy each year.

"I think once the word gets out about this place being open, I think it’ll be swamped, especially with the weather that we’re expected to have and the lake level up," Walker said. "I believe it’ll be the finest boat ramp on the lake."



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