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The Beach to get facelift for upcoming season

By Justin Reedy

The Beach at Clayton County International Park will be getting some major repairs to ensure it can open for the upcoming summer season.

Some areas of the Beach, the swimming venue in the county-owned park east of Jonesboro, had to be repaired before it could open on Memorial Day weekend this summer, according to Rick Lane, the park manager. One of the biggest priorities was repairing the children's pool area, Lane said, but many other areas in the swimming venue and the VIP pavilion had to be addressed during this off-season.

"The kiddie pool was mainly the area we had to address before we could open," Lane said. "Basically, the objective was to accomplish enough so we could open the park this year."

The children's pool will have surface cracks repaired, Lane said, and will have all slides and other apparatus replaced. Some of the waterslides in the adult area will also be repaired.

The renovation of the VIP building is almost done, Lane said, and when it is completed the facility will have new carpet, fresh painted walls, two new dance floors and upgraded restrooms and VIP suites.

The upgrades and renovations to the Beach facilities should all be completed by Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26, but the schedule is going to be tight.

"We're running really short on time," Lane said. "Hopefully, we'll start on (the children's pool renovation) this week, weather permitting, of course. We should have everything done by Memorial Day weekend."

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners will vote on about $150,000 in funding for renovations and upgrades at the Beach at its meeting tonight. The commission meets at 7 p.m. in the county Administration Building, 112 Smith St., Jonesboro.

The funding voted on today by the commission would fund new equipment and furniture for the VIP pavilion, repairs to the children's pool and replacement of all of the foam products in that pool.

A study by the Clayton County Tourism Authority presented to the county Board of Commissioners last year pointed out that several attractions in the park were in dire need of repair. The study also recommended that the county change its fee collection methods to help raise the money required for renovations, but the county chose not to raise its rates.

The children's pool, the swimming venue pavilions, the waterslides, and the bathroom and serving areas were all mentioned in the study as being in need of repair.

"We think the Clayton County International Park can be a real jewel for Clayton County," Stacey Dickson, executive director of the Tourism Authority, told the commission last year. "But it needs some polish n very badly. Plainly speaking, it is in a sad state of repair."

But most of those areas have already been or are being addressed, Lane said, and the county intends on starting a major redevelopment plan on the park in the next few years. Earlier this year, the commission awarded a contract to

Aquality Consulting of Jacksonville, Fla. to draft a three- to five-year master plan for redeveloping the park. That document should be done in August, Lane said.