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Businessmen believe Tired Creek Lake will be an economic boost

HEATH SANDERS, left, manager of South Georgia Outdoors, shows customer Gordon Clyatt a new fishing rod. Sanders is optimistic Tired Creek Lake will be a boon for Grady County and local businesses like his.

By Hannah Springston,
University of Georgia
Director of Publicity,
Tired Creek Lake

Grady County’s Tired Creek Lake is slated for completion by 2015, and local businesses are hoping for an economic boost while residents may anticipate a variety of water options on the lake.
From an economic perspective, it is estimated that fishing alone will generate $1 million per year, and that doesn’t include economic growth from other activities and permits for special events on the lake.
Heath Sanders, manager of South Georgia Outdoors in Cairo, said he is excited for the potential the lake holds. “I think it will be a really positive thing for businesses,” Sanders said. “Everybody here is excited because it’s a local lake within five to six miles of the store.”
Sanders also expressed that though his business already has a lot of fish and tackle products, he may consider experimenting with new products in the future should Tired Creek Lake increase sales and bring new customers. As an angler himself, Sanders said he currently travels to the coast to fish.
Research shows that on average, anglers spend $55 per fishing trip. Currently, this money is being spent in other counties where Grady County residents travel to fish. Tired Creek Lake would keep this money within the county, as well as bring additional revenue from visitors to the lake.
Larry Williams, owner of Gone Fishing in Thomasville, also expressed excitement over not having to drive so far to fish. Williams attended the Tired Creek Lake Fish Fry on March 6 at the Grady Cultural Center where he was able to showcase products that can be used at the lake. Williams, who donated several fishing poles to the event, said he is eager for the opportunity to stock his store with more fishing products in the future. He said he believes Thomasville residents will happily travel the short distance to Grady County to fish at Tired Creek Lake and that this will help his business.
In addition to providing an economic boost for local outdoor retailers, the size of Tired Creek Lake will provide unique fishing opportunities for local anglers, according to experts. In Georgia, while there are quite a few large lakes, such as North Georgia’s Lake Lanier, and many small fishing ponds, there are few medium-sized “Goldilocks” lakes. Tired Creek Lake will provide a medium-sized reservoir that southwest Georgia lacks.
Dr. Todd Rasmussen, professor of hydrology and water resources at the University of Georgia, has been heavily involved with the development planning of the lake and said that most lakes in the area are either small farm ponds or much larger reservoirs. “The size makes it possible to have a great diversity of fishing opportunities, both from the shoreline as well as out in the lake from small boats,” said Rasmussen. “Because it will be managed as a fishing lake, there won’t be conflicts over its objectives. That is, demands for downstream navigation and flood control will not be a priority.”
In addition to bringing revenue into the county and providing a place to fish, the lake will provide recreational opportunities that will allow residents and family members of all ages to come together and enjoy its many benefits. Those benefits might include nature study, sunbathing, hiking, bird watching, picnicking and more. Permits may also be issued for special events, including fishing tournaments, music festivals, water carnivals, sailing regattas, family reunions or company outings. Designed to be a quality investment in Grady County’s future, Tired Creek Lake will be a place where Grady County residents can come together as a community and create memories for generations to come.
The Tired Creek Lake project, which dates back to 1935, will be a 960-acre recreational fishing lake. In 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit to build the lake. Tired Creek Lake will be unique in its design and has been planned from the ground-up to provide the ideal environment for a sustainable fishery. Construction of the lake is slated to begin in Summer 2012 and will be completed within five years. From there, it is just a matter of filling the lake, stocking it with fish and putting on the final touches so that it will be ready for public use. The lake will be owned and managed by the county and will be accessible to all Grady County visitors and residents.
Editor’s Note: Also contributing to this report was Margaret Watford, UGA public relations student, and member of the Tired Creek Lake communications team.

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