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Lake Lanier Islands board OKs loan moves for better roads, new wastewater treatment plant
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Lonice Barrett, chairman of the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority reacts to the passage of a finance resolution by the board.

The Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority gave formal approval Thursday to a financing package for a state loan for a new wastewater treatment plant and a bank loan for road improvements.

The bank loan from Wachovia is a 20-year note at 4.79 percent for up to $10 million. The terms require the authority to keep a one year reserve of its total debt service payments on deposit with the bank.

"This is a good, solid, sound business deal for the authority and the state of Georgia," said Lonice Barrett, chairman of the authority. "It puts a significant step in motion to work with our partner, the Williams family, at Lake Lanier Islands."

The resolution also authorized the authority’s management to seek a 20-year loan from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority. The $10 million loan would be used to pay for a new wastewater treatment plan. The authority is under a consent order with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to replace the current plant by December 2009.

Also on Thursday, the authority heard an update on major renovation projects under way by the leaseholder, LLI Management, owned by businessman Virgil Williams.

"We’re beginning the first stage of the total rebuild of Emerald Pointe golf course," said Grier Todd, the chief operating officer of Lake Lanier Islands.

The project will be done by Medalist Golf of Cumming under the direction of course architect Billy Fuller, a former superintendent at the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club.

The project will take a year to complete and will include installation of Bermuda grass on the greens.

The other course on the islands, PineIsle, has been renovated and is open for play.

Todd also announced that demolition had begun on the former PineIsle hotel.

"They are dismantling the interior right now, and the target date to have it completely removed is June 1," Todd said.

Also under way is a major change to the exterior façade of Emerald Pointe resort and construction of three nearby lakefront villas.

"We’re on schedule to complete our renovation and have our new villas ready in May," Todd said.

Two weeks ago, he said the island’s beach and water park would open this summer, but low water levels could result in restricting or prohibiting swimming in Lake Lanier.