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Critics toss rocks at Stone Mountain

Among potential improvements proposed for Stone Mountain Park by Silver Dollar City, the private company that manages the facility, are a new "Children's Play Barn," and a "4D Theatre." But Friends of Stone Mountain Park, a volunteer group of advocates concerned about increasing commercialization, fear that the two new attractions — which will be the subject of a Sept. 13 public hearing — could damage the park's rustic ambiance. "These two projects don't seem so bad on their own. The question is, what is all this leading to?" asks Larry Winslett, Friends of Stone Mountain board member and Georgia Sierra Club state conservation chairman.

Winslett says the two new attractions, along with more than 90 other proposals named in Silver Dollar City's long-range plan for the park, will turn Stone Mountain into a theme park more reminiscent of Dollywood, another Silver Dollar City park.

Silver Dollar City pays the state $9.5 million a year to lease the park, but the company has lost money since beginning operations there in 1998.

"The more of these projects they get approved, the more entrenched they are and less likely to state will ever get them out," Winslett says.

Silver Dollar City officials did not return phone calls by press time.





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