Sunday April 21st, 2024 11:18AM

Boathouse at Lake Lanier Olympic Park hosts grand opening

By Christian Ashliman Anchor/Reporter

The Lake Lanier Olympic Park Boathouse held its grand opening Tuesday evening, situated just several miles north of downtown Gainesville.

The boathouse will offer a new waterfront experience with views overlooking Lake Lanier, along with space for corporate retreats, community events and weddings, according to officials.

In total, the campus is 50,000 square feet with an 8,400 square foot ballroom that can be divided into multiple sections if needed. Additionally, rentals of the space include chairs, tables, multiple seated areas, a covered veranda and terrace, a stone fireplace and ample outdoor parking.

Wedding events have the option for lakeside wedding services, dock access for send-offs and multiple opportunities for pictures along the shore and throughout the property.

"After the Olympic Games in 1996, the original boathouse was due to be torn down, as it was built to be a temporary facility for the games," Convention and Visitor's Bureau Director Robyn Lynch said. "In partnership with the City of Gainesville and Hall County ... the Lake Lanier Rowing Club, and Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club took on the lion's share of work in maintaining the park and original boathouse."

The Olympic Park Foundation has reportedly invested approximately $5 million in capital improvements to the park, Lynch noted.

One of the funding strategies that made the boathouse possible was the increase in the hotel/motel tax from six to eight percent in 2019. The added two percent is allocated for tourism projects, with the boathouse being the first of what officials hope are many improvements down the road.

"Over the past 10 years, Lake Lanier Olympic Park has contributed over $45 million in economic impact to our community," Lynch said. "And now with this new facility, we expect an impact of tourism to continue and grow in record numbers. The city council understands and appreciates the impact that tourism makes in Gainesville and supports our efforts completely."

The boathouse is available for booking now via the Explore Gainesville website, accessed by clicking here.

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