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Friendship Elementary likely to retain name
Planning board to vote on road name change Jan. 22
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Friendship Elementary School’s name likely won’t change, even though the name of the road it’s on might.

The Hall County Planning Commission is holding a public hearing Jan. 22 on the county’s proposal to change the name of Friendship Road to Lanier Islands Parkway.

“Regardless of their decision, I do not anticipate changing the name of the school,” said Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield.

Friendship Elementary, which was built in 1995, is at 4450 Friendship Road, between Interstate 985 and Hog Mountain Road.

Friendship Road runs between I-985 and Spout Springs Road and, as part of a Georgia Department of Transportation project, will continue to run to Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway.

It also is part of Ga. 347, which runs between Lake Lanier Islands resort and Ga. 211. Ga. 347 also runs along Spout Springs and Thompson Mill roads, and Lanier Islands Parkway.

Before 2010, Lanier Islands Parkway was known as Friendship Road and Holiday Road. The name was changed by the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

In explaining the reason for the latest proposal, Katie Crumley, Hall County’s spokeswoman, has said that Ga. 347 “is in the Lake Lanier Islands area and (officials) want to drive tourists to the (resort), since that is such a big economic engine.”

Friendship Road is mostly residential, unlike the heavily commercial stretch of Ga. 347 between Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway and I-985. Lake-themed businesses also line Ga. 347 between McEver Road and the resort.

During the 2010 name change, some property owners fretted over the cost of changing the name on letterhead, signs and other identifying items.

Schofield said such changes to Friendship Elementary’s letterhead, website and other materials “would be fairly minimal.”

He said he hasn’t heard from residents on the matter, and longtime principal Berry Walton said the only conversation he has had on the topic has been mere reference to news coverage.

Brian Sloan, the Hall County Board of Education’s South Hall representative, declined to comment.

As for the issue itself, Schofield said, “I don’t have a strong feeling about it either way.”

Srikanth Yamala, Hall’s planning director, sent a letter Dec. 20 to 195 property owners along the road, including the new alignment, about the issue.

“We encourage commercial property owners to inform their respective tenants of the proposed name change,” Yamala says in the letter.

The Jan. 22 meeting is set for 5:15 p.m. at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

After the planning board, the matter then moves to the county board of commissioners for public hearings on Feb. 14 and Feb. 28.

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