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Major South Hall artery could be renamed
Hall County is proposing to change the name of Friendship Road, west of Interstate 985, and Holiday Road to Lanier Islands Parkway. - photo by SARA GUEVARA
Name change
The Hall County Board of Commissioners will consider changing the name of Friendship Road west of Interstate 985 and Holiday Road to Lanier Islands Parkway at its Thursday meeting. Final approval could come Jan. 28.

By spring, a heavily traveled South Hall road could reflect the name of its biggest attraction, Lake Lanier Islands.

And that’s fine with one of the resort’s biggest promoters, the Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“This is a favorable change, especially for our visitors,” said Stacey B. Dickson, the group’s president. “When they see the sign on (Interstate) 985 to exit for Lanier Islands Parkway, they will immediately know they are heading the right direction.”

On Thursday, the Hall County Board of Commissioners will consider changing the name of Friendship Road west of the interstate and Holiday Road to Lanier Islands Parkway. Final approval could come Jan. 28.

Dickson said she could see residents and businesses grumbling about address changes, particularly their effect on letterhead and other documents.

“The upside is that everyone gets to be associated with the development and marketing of the Lake Lanier Islands resort, which is a major boom to the South Hall business community,” she said.

So far, however, the measure has drawn little public reaction, pro or con, among residents and businesses on the 4-mile stretch, which is also Ga. 347, a designation that won’t change.

The county sent letters to 110 property owners and heard back from six — four expressing opposition and two supporting it.

“I expected at least half ... to respond,” said South Hall Commissioner Bobby Banks. “... I can’t figure out why we didn’t have any more response to it.”

Laurie Attaway, manager of Third Coast Grille at 5390 Friendship Road, said earlier this week she didn’t care what the road is named as long as business keeps streaming her way.

She said she believes it’s possible the nautical theme of her restaurant and the road’s name might even stir more activity. “I can only hope. I’m for anything that drives revenue, obviously,” Attaway said.

Banks said Lake Lanier Islands officials talked with him in November about the name change and he, in turn, asked county officials to investigate the idea further.

He said he was surprised at the speed of the proposal, which heads to the commission for first reading on Thursday.

“I figured it would drag out through the summer, like everything else around what government does,” Banks said, adding a laugh.

Only a few people spoke on the matter at Monday’s Hall County Planning Commission meeting, said Randy Knighton, director of Hall County’s planning department.

“The potential road name change will, one, alleviate the issue we have with that section of road having two names,” Knighton said.

“Also, many of those businesses are tied to Lake Lanier and the many activities there, and it’s a very visited tourist destination.”

Grier Todd, CEO of Lake Lanier Islands, said 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.”

One Holiday Road resident, Sandra Bryant, is not so supportive of the change.

“I’ve lived her all my life on this road and they’ve changed (the name) about three or four times, and I wish they would leave it alone. It’s an inconvenience to have to change everything every time they decide they want to change the name.”

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

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