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Olympic tennis venue won't become county park

STONE MOUNTAIN — Gwinnett officials will no longer convert a Stone Mountain Olympic venue to a county park.

Commissioners rescinded an agreement with the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, which would have allowed the county to renovate and open 15 tennis courts at the facility. The county had originally planned to demolish the 8,000-seat tennis stadium used during the 1996 Olympic Games, but a proposed economic development project has kept the stadium’s fate in limbo.

The county’s May 2009 decision was controversial, especially with the county struggling financially. Officials said rescinding the agreement saves the county $300,000 in renovations and an annual operating projection of $120,000.

“We did what we had to do on that one,” said Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, who lead the take-over decision 18 months ago but said it had to be shelved now.

At least for now, the decision will not affect the economic development proposal at the center, said Wayne Hill, interim director of the Evermore Community Improvement District.

Next month, results of a study on of the feasibility of converting the stadium to a concert venue will be unveiled, Hill said, and a decision on the venue’s fate could be reached after that.

For now, the memorial association has agreed to allow the CID offices to remain in the center’s pro shop, with a caveat that it could be asked to leave with 60 days notice.

“They are fine with us staying here as long as we take care of it,” Hill said. “We don’t anticipate any changes right away.”