18:00 PM

Community Impact: Lake Lanier Olympic Park

To better provide safety to the thousands of visitors who enjoy the lake and facilities at Lake Lanier Olympic Park, the Jackson EMC Foundation recently awarded $8,000 for the purchase of automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, for use there.

The grant was made to Gainesville/Hall County ’96 Roundtable, the nonprofit that originated in 1993 to help bring canoeing and kayaking events to Gainesville for the 1996 Summer Olympics. The organization was revamped in 2013, as were the grounds and facilities at Lake Lanier Olympic Park, headquartered at 3015 Clarks Bridge Road in Gainesville.

Today, ’96 Roundtable oversees operations and programs at the park where rowing, canoeing and kayaking are favorite activities.

The Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club and Lake Lanier Rowing Club both operate from Lake Lanier Olympic Park, with about 300 members at the park each day, according to Venue Manager Morgan House. Along with those daily park participants, visitors from throughout northeast Georgia, across the United States and even internationally come to the Olympic Park for recreation and competitions.

House and Assistant Manager James Watson wrote the request for a grant to purchase AEDs to be placed at the park’s boathouse and Olympic Timing Tower to provide emergency medical treatment in cases of cardiac arrest.

“We have literally thousands of athletes who come in and out of this facility on an annual basis, plus we have tens of thousands of general public visitors who come to use the park, picnic area and beach and to fish,” says House. “While it has never happened, the potential for one of our athletes or visitors having heart failure is evident, so having AEDs onsite hopefully will prevent any worst case scenario.”

He expressed gratitude for the organization’s first Jackson EMC Foundation grant.

“It shows the Foundation is aware of potential health issues and puts the safety of the general public first and foremost by enabling us to purchase AEDs to provide enhanced safety at the park,” House concludes.