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Group moving forward on lake lighting program
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Forsyth County News

GAINESVILLE — Lake Lanier is getting a little brighter at night.

The Lake Lanier Association has installed 20 solar-powered lights on hazard markers in the southern part of Lake Lanier, in addition to 20 installed in 2013.

So far, the work has been conducted on the Forsyth County side of Lanier, primarily in the Two Mile, Young Deer Creek and Bald Ridge Creek areas, said Joanna Cloud, the group’s executive director.

“This portion of the lake safety program has been made possible through the generous donations of Forsyth County and the Lake Lanier Association membership,” states a news release issued by the group.

Tom Child of Marine Specialties provided crews and barge equipment for the installation. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 29, is helping the project by handling the monthly monitoring of the lights to ensure all lights remain functional.

One light has been installed per marker. However, in areas of the lake, such as Vans Tavern, where several markers are grouped together, “we install one light on one marker in the group,” Cloud said.

“This initiative has been very favorably received by the local community,” Cloud said. “We’ve received nothing but positive comments via both email and our Facebook page. If anything, I think people are anxious for us to do more.”

The next batch of lights could be in Lanier’s main channel and on the eastern side of the lake into southern Hall County and northern Gwinnett County.

“Pending funding, we plan to push northward from there,” Cloud said.

The Gainesville-based organization is talking with Hall County “about additional funding, which would help pave the way for more lights,” she added.

In the program, the group is first pushing to put lights on hazard markers. A second phase would involve placing red and green lights on land at the mouth of main tributaries around the lake, such as Flat Creek, which flows into the lake from West Hall and Gainesville.

Cloud said the program’s third phase calls for putting lights around the center archways of major bridges on Lanier — red on each side and green on top — indicating the deep-water path under the bridge.

The bridge lighting would involve an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The group has had some preliminary talks with DOT about the effort.

“While the details have yet to be worked out, we are optimistic about getting that agreement in place in the next few years,” Cloud said.

The lighting program also has involved an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers, which “requires us to commit to funding for repair or replacement of the lights on an ongoing basis,” she said.

“We are currently committed for $15,000 worth of lights, either already installed or to be installed in 2014.”

Individual lights may be sponsored for $250 each.

The association has three lights sponsored in someone’s memory, Cloud said.