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Lake Lanier Islands amphitheater set for renovation
Projects expected to be complete before 2012 summer season
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Restoration plans are in the works for Lake Lanier Islands' aging amphitheater and surrounding area.

Lake Lanier Islands Management and the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority are looking to invest at least $2.5 million on improvements, a project slated to begin in January.

"As soon as we turn the Magical Nights of Lights off, we'll get into that area and start construction," said Bill Donohue, the authority's executive director, referring to the annual holiday lights event.

The authority will spend $2 million it received from the state in 2010 to improve roadways, trails, restrooms, public pavilions, parking, lighting and signs.

"We'll also look for opportunities to improve scenic overlooks," Donohue said.

Lake Lanier Islands Management, which leases the resort from the development authority, plans to invest "in renovating the amphitheater itself, the stage and the large pavilion that's located (on the grounds)," with the first phase costing about $500,000, Donohue said.

"We're excited that the area just outside of the entry gate to the islands will be renovated," he added.

As part of a master plan, extensive work totaling some $75 million has been done throughout the 1,100-acre resort, including new roads and main bridge over Lake Lanier, completion of Legacy Lodge & Conference Center and construction of villas next to the lodge.

This year, the resort introduced LanierWorld, rebranding the existing water park as park of an area that also features a kids pool and carnival rides, among other attractions.

Also part of the master plan was moving the main gates beyond Peachtree Point so people can get to the amphitheater and other areas without paying admission.

Fixing up that area "allows us to really enhance that whole part of the island, which is more and more popular," Donohue said.

The work is set to be completed in May before the 2012 summer season.

Initially, there was talk of turning the amphitheater, which is estimated to seat 1,200-1,500 people, into a concert venue similar to Atlanta's Chastain Park Amphitheater, which features tables as part of the seating and spectators bringing picnic baskets.

"We backed off that," Donohue said. "We think we are better off with a facility with several purposes."

Functions could range from large-scale weddings and movie nights to musical theater performances and high school band concerts, he said.


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