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Tennis center plan is music to the ears

Could the next great metro Atlanta concert venue be a world-class tennis center?

Jason Lary thinks so.

The Lithonia-based promoter wants to bring classic soul and jazz concerts to Stone Mountain Tennis Center, which sits just off U.S. Highway 78 next to a Super Target.

The center, technically part of Stone Mountain Park though not inside it, was built for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. It has a nearly 8,000-seat center court, but major tennis events have been hard to come by in recent years.

D. Gary Hill, president of the nonprofit group that runs the courts, said the aging tennis center needs revenue for upgrades. He thinks Lary's concert series could be the answer.

Lary said he has a proven track record turning around the aging Lithonia Amphitheater, making it into what he called the next "Chastain (Park Ampitheatre) of the South."

He said he did it by booking acts such as jazz performers George Duke and Alex Bugnon.

Lary said, "I can hold even bigger acts here."

Job outlook

somewhat bright

It wouldn't be spring without pollen, baseball and predictions for the job market.

Manpower Inc.'s recent survey of Atlanta-area employers suggests they will pick up the hiring pace from April to June. Nearly 30 percent said they would add employees, 36 said they would maintain their staff and another 35 said they were uncertain about their hiring plans.

Construction, durable and non-durable goods manufacturing, and wholesale and retail trade offer the best job prospects, according to the survey. Manpower said employers are less optimistic about hiring versus a year ago.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. releases its job outlook for upcoming graduates Monday, the first official day of spring.

Flat foreclosures

The banks are not quite as busy as they were last year foreclosing homes.

Georgia's number of new foreclosures dropped only slightly in February compared to the same time a year ago, according to Foreclosure.com.

Last month, the state had 1,610 properties placed in foreclosure, the process banks use to take back homes whose owners could no longer pay the mortgage.

Georgia, which has been a nationwide hot spot for foreclosures, especially in metro Atlanta, had 1,632 newly foreclosed homes last February.

A year-to-year comparison of new U.S. foreclosures showed a 9 percent increase.

Doug Sams can be reached via e-mail at doug.sams@gwinnettdailypost.com.