CLEVELAND - Two state parks in northeast Georgia are getting a major facelift as a result of an allocation of state funds and a grant.
Carol Jackson, deputy director for the North Georgia Mountain Authority, which oversees private management operations of the state parks for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, says that the state has allocated $7.5 million in bond funds that will be used to give a new look to Unicoi State Park north of Helen and Amicalola Falls State Park north of Dawsonville.
Jackson said Unicoi was developed in 1968 and has not seen major work since then, and she said visitors will notice the difference in the lodge rooms and cabins.
"You're gonna see a new face on Unicoi," Jackson said. "We've already started by going in all the guest rooms putting in new flat-screen TVs. We put in new mattress, box springs and bedding. The bathrooms are getting a new facelift."
According to Jackson, both parks will have many ADA adjustments made throughout.
In addition, Jackson said the authority has received a $5-million-plus energy conservation grant that will be used to help make these aging facilities more energy efficient.
Work at the two facilities currently is underway, and Jackson said the work will be done in stages and the facilities will not have to be closed during the work.
Jackson noted a year or so ago there was an announcement that Unicoi would shut down for renovation work, but Gov. Nathan Deal stepped in and arranged for it to stay open.
After that announcement more than a year ago, many companies and organizations made plans to meet elsewhere. She said they now are trying to get the word out that Unicoi has conference openings available.
The work is expected to be completed by next spring and Jackson said they anticipate additional funding that will be used to make upgrades at four other parks under their management.