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The future of the lake

Young Gamechangers coordinate with Parks and Rec on future of West Point Lake

LaGRANGE – With a scenic view of West Point Lake visible in the background during discussions, it was impossible to argue that the local feature didn’t have potential as the Young Gamechangers met with Parks and Recreation Director Cajun Rhodes to discuss future lake use and marketing.

The Young Gamechangers is a group of local young professionals who work with the Troup County Chamber of Commerce to identify ways that the county and cities can be more attractive for young adults or millennials, and because of the group’s focus, their questions on upcoming projects differed quite a bit from local commissioners and city council members who tend to focus on a broader picture of community wants and needs.

“One of our big ideas – which is the focus of this group – our assignment was to create recommendations that will attract millennial tourists to LaGrange, Troup County, and one of the big ideas that we had specifically around this area was to create an awareness or group of activities that feature West Point Lake,” said Shemeka Johnson, of Young Gamechangers.

The parks department is currently in the process of trying to attract more local tournaments and events to the area, according to Rhodes, but part of what the parks and the lake need in order to really stand out will be facilities like the proposed event center at Pyne Road Park that can compete with those of other nearby cities to host those events, which is a large part of the Parks & Rec’s requests on the upcoming SPLOST vote.

“So basically, (if) we attract a giant professional fishing tournament to come into town – instead of doing their end of the event in these areas (like the pavilion) – we will have a gorgeous, beautiful space in the center to do this in,” said Rhodes. “It really raises the bar for us. It is also corporate. Like if you want to have a corporate outing or something like that, (and) you want to have the meeting off site, staff meeting, it will be available for that as well.”

The Troup County Parks and Recreation Department has requested $3 million from the upcoming SPLOST’s funds to renovate Pyne Road Park to include facilities like the event center and an improved boat ramp to encourage more tournaments in the area which officials hope will bring more funds to the area in the form of visitors paying for the use of facilities, staying in local hotels, eating at local restaurants and shopping in local stores.

The group also brought up topics like branding, online reservations and yurts for camping, but the biggest outcome of the meeting was the trade of information that both the county and the Gamechangers hope will allow both to work towards increased tourism to the area.

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2154.