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Concert venue unlikely at Lanierland
County study finds rec center a better fit
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Forsyth County News

NORTH FORSYTH — It seems the future of an old concert venue in north Forsyth has been decided, and it likely won’t include much music.

During a work session Tuesday, Forsyth County commissioners reviewed with staff a market research study that explored the feasibility of preserving the old Lanierland concert venue in north Forsyth.

The venue closed in 2006. The county bought it and the surrounding 109 acres in September 2009 for use as a county park.

On Tuesday, Tim Merritt, deputy county manager, said the recent market study found that in order to be competitive with other concert venues, Lanierland’s facility would need to be greatly expanded and renovated.

“The concert industry has changed substantially since the 1970s, when Lanierland Music Park was in its heyday,” Merritt said of the study’s finding. “The venue would need to be resized and it would need to be able to seat about 8,000 people … in order to capture the market where they need to be now.

“The concert structure is salvageable, but it would be very expensive to salvage it and at the same time modify it to make it competitive where the marketplace is today, for what the performers now require.”

According to Merritt, the study instead recommended creating a recreation center, like those at Fowler and Old Atlanta parks, rather than revamping the concert venue.

“The recommendation coming to us to that we go ahead and remove the current structure and that we replace it with a recreation center and possibly an amphitheater,” he said.

While no formal vote was taken on the issue, the consensus from commissioners was to have staff revamp the plan for the park to include a definite footprint for the new recreation center.

While the center would not be completed during the first phase of the park’s development, commissioners wanted to go ahead and have a designated area for it as part of future plans.

There is currently no funding to build a recreation center, but Merritt said recreation department impact fees could help in the future.

“We haven’t started construction on this park yet, and it’s going to take some time before we start,” he said. “[So] by the time we build … at that point in the future we will be able to have enough impact fee money.”

The first phase of the park, which has not yet been put out for construction bids, is slated to include four rectangle sports fields, with one of those being artificial turf, as well as restroom and concession areas, parking and a maintenance building.