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Board plans to cast final vote on road name change
Holiday Road Boat & RV Storage owner Phil Markert, left, and general manager Vinko Barac, have been at the Holiday Road location in Buford since 2001. On Thursday, the Hall County Board of Commissioners plans to vote on a proposal to change the name of Friendship and Holiday roads to Lanier Islands Parkway. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Phil Markert doesn’t mind the proposal to change the name of Holiday and Friendship roads to Lanier Islands Parkway, despite the sign in front of his business taking a direct hit.

“It’ll cost me a little money in the short term,” said Markert, who owns Holiday Road Boat & RV Storage. “Long term, I think (the new name) is going to draw a lot of traffic and be good for the whole county.”

The Hall County Board of Commissioners is set to cast a final vote on the matter at its meeting set for 5 p.m. Thursday at the Georgia Mountains Center.

The proposal calls for changing the name of Friendship Road west of Interstate 985 to near Shoreland Drive, where it becomes Holiday Road and then leads to Lake Lanier Islands.

“One (issue) is the road now has two names,” said Randy Knighton, planning director for Hall County. “One name, in and of itself, provides some clarity.

“And then, with Lake Lanier being the community focal point that it is — as well as Lake Lanier Islands — it is believed by some (that the new name) will provide a cohesive connection to what is a heavily visited site.”

The issue has its roots in a November discussion involving South Hall Commissioner Bobby Banks and Lake Lanier Islands officials about the possibility of a name change. Banks has said he, in turn, asked county officials to investigate the idea further.

Grier Todd, CEO of Lake Lanier Islands, has said he believed the change would be helpful, particularly with people trying to find the resort.

“We deal with, on a regular basis, people trying to get here and they’re confused,” he said. “If you Google it, you might get Holiday Road, Friendship Road or (Ga.) 347.”

Some residents along the four-mile stretch haven’t been as keen on the idea.

In a letter to Knighton, Deanna W. Pruitt of Holiday Road said she believes the name change “will create a very difficult and costly situation for longtime residents ... who cannot accommodate the name change with a simple change of address form at the post office.”

“The process of changing the address on legal documents could easily cost thousands of dollars,” she said. “Missing one of these changes could potentially cause additional problems.”

Another resident, Sandra Bryant, has said she has lived on Holiday Road all her life, with the name of the road changing several times.

“I wish they would leave it alone,” she said. “It’s an inconvenience to have to change everything every time they decide they want to change the name.”

The county sent letters to 110 property owners in November and December and has heard back from seven — five expressing opposition and two supporting it, Knighton said.

Pruitt said she was missed when the letters were sent.

Knighton said the county “did a query for the whole road ... and, for some reason, it didn’t pick up her parcel, although her son has property next door and he got a letter.”

If the proposal is approved, the official name change could occur within 60 to 90 days, Knighton said.

“We want to provide property owners with lead time to make signage changes and so forth,” he added.

Markert, for one, said he plans to drop “Road” from the sign advertising his business.

The county also would consider new road signs on I-985 and the parkway, which is also known as Ga. 347, a designation that won’t change.

“We would have to coordinate with the (Georgia) Department of Transportation,” Knighton said.

Friendship Road running east of I-985 to the Spout Springs Road area in Braselton would keep its name.

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