County officials said on Monday that major upgrades to John Tanner State Park are paying off. According to Parks Manager Beth Parsons, revenue for the park increased nearly 10 percent in the last year.
“These upgrades have really helped bring people back into the park,” said Parsons. “We’ve watched our attendance numbers and revenue really grow over the past year.”
First opened in 1954, John Tanner Park had been experiencing declining numbers of visitors until the state transferred management of the park to Carroll County in 2010. Since then the county’s efforts have restored the park to a destination that is gaining popularity with locals, as well as those from outside the west Georgia area.
“John Tanner Park is more vibrant than ever,” said Carroll County Board of Commission Chairman Marty Smith. “Our Board sat down recently and came up with a plan of action to restore the park and make a commitment to keeping our parks and green spaces clean, productive, and safe.”
The 138-acre park is known for having the largest sand swimming beach of any park in the state. Parks Director Ben Skipper said improving the lakes and beach at John Tanner was a top priority for the county.
“We brought in 90 dump truck loads of new sand for the beach, and also dredged out the lake where lots of the sand and soil had washed into it,” said Skipper. “The new upgrades to the lake and the beach were very important to us. John Tanner Park hosts a number of triathlon events each year, and we really wanted to make sure we keep the lake in good condition so we could continue having those kinds of events.”
Skipper noted that the county stocked both lakes at John Tanner Park with more than 11,000 fish. “We hired a fish biologist to come in and do a survey of the lake. We stocked both lakes with bream and grass carp to help restore the fish populations.”
“We have lots of people who come to the park to fish, but they rarely ever keep any of the fish, which hurts the food chain.” He recommended that all fish over 12 inches long be kept to help maintain the fish habitat in both lakes.
The county also purchased 12 paddleboats for visitors to use in the lake. In addition to upgrades at the John Tanner lakes and dock, county officials added both new carpet and new clubs to the park’s putt-putt golf course.
Parsons said renovations to the park’s group rooms and lodge have brought in more groups that use the area for corporate retreats as well as other functions.
“We remodeled our group lodge, which has 40 beds, and also renovated some of our other rooms that groups like to use for retreats and things like that,” said Parsons. “We have some larger, air-conditioned rooms for groups to use. We also have 32 different campsites for people to stay at.”
Carroll County also helped clear out and pave John Tanner Park’s walking trails. Skipper said the county added new signage at the park, as well as the county corridor leading in from Highway 27.
“We are really proud to introduce the new and improved John Tanner Park,” said Skipper. “It’s been around for many years, and everyone knows where it is, but we just want to invite people to come out and enjoy the new upgrades we’ve made to the park.”
Click here for more information on John Tanner Park.