Lanierland Park: A New Era for North Forsyth

JoAnn Ahn, News Editor

In March 2016, ground was officially broken for the construction of a new, 109-acre park off of Jot-Em Down Road named Lanierland Park, coined after its predecessor, Lanierland Music Park, a popular country music hot spot for more than 36 years which closed in 2006. The new recreational park’s grand opening will take place in the near future with North’s very own Coach Craft speaking and the JROTC in attendance. Additionally, Silver City and Chestatee Elementary Schools’ choruses will sing to welcome in the new park.

District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, former Lanierland regular and general manager of the music park, reflects on her memories of Lanierland fondly.

“I was eight or nine years old when my dad and mom carried me to the first show they ever had at Lanierland… Some of the biggest names in country music came to Jot-Em-Down Road and played. Our county residents did not have very much to choose from in the way of entertainment. Some people didn’t even have cable TV, so it was quite a treat to be able to see Johnny Cash and June Carter, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Tammy Wynette or The Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama and the list goes on and on and on.”

Back in 2008, Forsyth County purchased the land for $4.75 million, provided from a $100 million Parks, Recreation and Green Space Bond and Impact Fees. As of now, construction crew are in Phase 1 of the park, with features including a park entrance road, parking lots, four synthetic rectangular turf fields, two picnic pavilions, two restroom/concession structures, a playground and a park operations maintenance facility, which will all comprise of 40 acres. Additionally, once completed, about two miles of natural trails will be added onto the entire vicinity of Lanierland. Phase 2 of the project, which has no specific timeline or dedicated funding at the present moment, plans to incorporate more facilities such as a four-field baseball complex, four-court tennis complex and Recreation Center.

“The major difference of the park after completion will be the Recreation Center, due to the fact that it will contain both indoor and outdoor recreation options,” said Jim Pryor, director of the parks and recreation. “This will make the park more of a regional draw like Central Park and Fowler Park.  However, it still plans to host the local community recreation organizations of the Northeast section of Forsyth County.”

Compared to other Forsyth County parks, say Central or Bennett, the Lanierland property contains more of a new wave design, more acreage and a rolling terrain. In addition, the facilities are designed in pods, which allows the overall layout the park to have spaced out facilities. With the pods, the design provides active recreation in addition to some greenspace.

“I think the biggest benefit is that north Forsyth will have a regional park with the combination of active, passive and indoor recreation space.  Previously, northern residents have had to travel to Central Park for this element,” said Pryor.  “With the population growth migrating to the northern end of the County, I think having such as complete park will aid residents in location and recreation/facility demand of more residents.”

Despite minor design issues, time lapses due to rainy and cold weather, and Hurricane Matthew, which caused vital utility companies to send crews to coasts, the construction crew and parks and recreation team are working fervently in making the park a reality very soon. Because the county has committed to such a major financial investment in Lanierland, park coordinators are making sure to commit to high quality standards by making sure things go just right.

“I think it’s wonderful that this land will continue to bring families happiness and joy and will continue to bring entertainment to their lives. It will also continue to make memories for them that they will forever cherish,” said Mills. “It’s sad to see chapters of our lives come to an end but it’s exciting to see new ones begin and that’s what is happening here. Lanierland will live on in just a different way and as the song title may be changing, it is still being sung.”

Playground
Pavilions and Playground
Restroom and Concession
Pavilion
Rectangular Synthetic Field
Parking Lot
Maintenance Facility
Walkway Between Fields
Playground