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Metro Atlanta's lake economy booming again | Business

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Metro Atlanta's lake economy booming again

ACWORTH, Ga. -- The summer forecast for metro Atlanta's economy has one facet that is sparkling:

The massive lake economy is booming once again.

Allatoona and Lanier are back, after the past few years of literal and economic drought.

The lakes' levels are nearly back up to full pool again, just as boaters and tourists are returning to the lakes with money to spend.

Marinas are expecting good summer business, for a change.

"I think it's probably going to be higher than it's been in the last, I'd say, five years, for sure," said Tara Anderson, the accounts manager for Holiday Harbor Marina and Resort, at Allatoona Lake in the Bartow County part of the City of Acworth.

Anderson said Monday that Holiday Harbor's profits are already up 33 percent so far this year, compared with the same period last year.

Boat sales, alone, are up 144 percent. As soon as the business puts new boats on the lot, they're sold.

And other business owners around Allatoona and Lanier are doing better, too.

"Everybody's pretty much saying the same thing, their sales are up, their boat rentals are up; everybody's wanting to be out enjoying [the lakes]," Anderson said. "And I think we will continue to be busy throughout the rest of the summer, for sure."

Beth Yelverton and her husband and children, who live near Allatoona Lake, in Emerson, are noticing that Allatoona is a lot more crowded than last year. Last year, she and her family were watching from the shore.

"We didn't have a boat, then," she said. "And now that the recession's over, we have a boat now."

The recession is over?

Yelverton caught herself and smiled.

"Well, not really." But, she said, her family's recession is ending.

"I have a job, now," she said. "A few months ago, I didn't have a job." Now both she and her husband are employed.

The two lakes, in a "normal," non-recession year, generate hundreds of millions of dollars for metro Atlanta's economy, and thousands of jobs.


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