Chehaw making changes to bring in more visitors - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Chehaw making changes to bring in more visitors

Chehaw is changing things up to help bring in more visitors and revenue to the park. (Source: WALB) Chehaw is changing things up to help bring in more visitors and revenue to the park. (Source: WALB)
Chehaw executives said they can't afford to be just a petting zoo. (Source: WALB) Chehaw executives said they can't afford to be just a petting zoo. (Source: WALB)
Wedding and events at the Creekside Education Building are up dramatically. (Source: WALB) Wedding and events at the Creekside Education Building are up dramatically. (Source: WALB)
The infrastructure is almost complete for a new 60 hookup campground on the shore of Lake Chehaw to open later this year. (Source: WALB) The infrastructure is almost complete for a new 60 hookup campground on the shore of Lake Chehaw to open later this year. (Source: WALB)
Executive Director Don Meeks (Source: WALB) Executive Director Don Meeks (Source: WALB)
DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -

Chehaw officials met with Albany City leaders Monday to talk about the park's future.

Chehaw leaders hope to develop new attractions to increase visitors and revenue. 

New Executive Director Don Meeks said that Chehaw is at a crossroads, and they need community support to make the park something relevant to South Georgians.

Chehaw executives said they can't afford to be just a petting zoo, as they transition from a city park to a privately run business.

"We're looking at progress. We don't want to be where we are," said Meeks. "It's a losing battle for us where we are.  We have to fix it.  We have to add bits and pieces where we can."

Chehaw hosted bands for one of its first music events over the weekend, one of the new ideas to attract visitors to the park.  

They also have a remote control car track, a new mountain bike trail and the BMX bike track is fixed up. And the infrastructure is almost complete for a new 60 hookup campground on the shore of Lake Chehaw to open later this year, and a new water park is in the planning stages, if the investment is made.

"It just has to be a look at almost everything that is possible. We need to look at it all at once. We don't have a lot of time to do one. and then a couple of years later do another. We're a little bit in crisis mode," explained Meeks.

Chehaw receives 970 thousand dollars a year from the city of Albany, but has also seen decreasing income and community support.  

Now they are trying to come up with ideas to get supporters back, and reverse the problems.

"We need the community to be behind Chehaw Park again, just like it was when it started," said Meeks. "We were a shining star in this community, and for a variety of reasons, lost that luster."

Wedding and events at the Creekside Education Building are up dramatically, but Chehaw is looking for other reasons for people to come back to the park.

Chehaw is 35 years old, and Don Meeks said that the infrastructure in many places is breaking down.  

They need to generate money to do renovations and they are thinking of new events to try to get people to start coming back to Chehaw.

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