Will state resort be put up for sale? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Will state resort be put up for sale?

October 11, 2006

Crisp County - - A south Georgia lakeside retreat can be yours for only...well, we don't know that yet. But the state of Georgia is thinking about putting The Retreat at Lake Blackshear on the market.

Its warm atmosphere welcomes you as soon as you step foot onto the facility.

"Probably the prettiest location in the area, honestly," says Chamber of Commerce Chair Joe Cooks.

Inside The Retreat at Lake Blackshear, friendly, bright interior decorations light up a restaurant and a first-class business conference center.

"How fortunate we are to have been able to get that facility in Crisp County."

Cook says the resort not only is a hotspot for tourists but it's a great tool to impress businesses to come to the area. The state owns the property, but now leaders are trying to figure out if it's still worth it.

"I think that's a study they need to do. It's a good idea on both parts to really look at it. Brasstown is one situation and were entirely different. Ours is unique being in a state park," says Bob Johnson who works for a group that pays the state to run the day to day activities of the resort.

He says whatever the state decides, his company, Coral Hospitality, has a 5 year lease agreement to operate the facility. Right now, they're only into the 2nd year. Johnson says business is fine.

"It's been growing, yes it has. It's never what we like, but much stronger year after year."

The public has to weigh in on the issue before the state makes a decision. County leaders say they see nothing wrong with the way things are now.

"Oh my gosh, the water. The landscaping, the buildings, everything about it is just beautiful," says Cook.

It's an environment he doesn't want to see change.

The North Georgia Mountains Authority plans to appraise the resort as well as Brasstown Valley in Towns County. After reviewing the cost of appraisals, the authority plans to decide its next step in December.

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