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Governor opens Laurel Park Boat Ramp
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A bass boat is backed down the ramp Wednesday afternoon at Laurel Park shortly after a ribbon cutting ceremony opening the newly completed mega boat ramp at the park. Gov. Sonny Perdue was a guest speaker at the ceremony.

Gov. Sonny Perdue and other state and local officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on the Laurel Park Boat Ramp, the first mega-ramp to open under Perdue’s Go Fish Georgia initiative.

"It will be an economic engine for Georgia, and I’m proud of Go Fish Georgia," Perdue said at the 3:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony at Laurel Park. "This is exactly what the tournament fishers are looking for and if you build it they will come."

Perdue noted how far the lake has come over the last year, and touched on his meeting with U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar earlier in the day regarding drought and water issues.

The 350-foot, four-lane ramp is a joint venture between Hall County and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the state. The construction of the ramp, expanded parking and other improvements cost about $1.1 million, with DNR offsetting $400,000 of the cost.

Laurel Park is one of 10 mega-ramp sites on a bass fishing trail to lure large tournaments to the state. It is the site of the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup championship fishing tournament in August 2010.

Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Oliver noted that the new fishing venue will bring tourists to fill Hall County hotels and restaurants.

"The sales tax dollars coming to this community will be very beneficial," Oliver said.

Hall County Commissioner Steve Gailey said he had been eagerly anticipating the ramp’s opening for months.

"It’s an honor to be the first one to open in the state," Hall County Commissioner Steve Gailey said.

The boat ramps at Laurel Park are open to the public.

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