Improvements coming to other Lake Tobesofkee parks

Lake Tobesofkee’s other two major parks will get their biggest face-lifts in decades, following a rebuilding of Arrowhead Park because of tornado damage.

“When we did all the improvements at Arrowhead, it made Claystone and Sandy Beach look bad,” said Doug Furney, Bibb County’s Lake Tobesofkee director.

Arrowhead Park sustained the most damage in the 2008 Mother’s Day storm, which also wiped out the only bathhouse at Sandy Beach Park and destroyed an old house at Claystone Park. This winter, the damage and insurance money from it could lead to upgrades at Claystone and Sandy Beach. Furney said the moves will make the park better for all of the parks’ users, who range from people attending family reunions and corporate picnickers to campers and anglers.

The parks were built in the early and mid-1970s. Most improvements during the years were relatively minor, except for when electricity to campsites was upgraded at Claystone a few years ago.

“Had it not been for the storm, we probably would not have made the improvements we have done and we continue to do,” Furney said.

In the next month, workers will finish a bigger and better bathhouse at Sandy Beach Park. For the first time, bathrooms will be close to the park’s upper pavilion and the most popular parts of the beach.

But work this winter may bring more changes.

Claystone Park may get stumps from 700 storm-struck trees ground down. That will clear the way for other work, including all-new grills and picnic tables at the camping sites. Beach-area shelters will be renovated. The asphalt recreational vehicle sites also will be worked on to halt erosion and level off the parking areas. The 40-year-old water system also will be replaced.

Sandy Beach may get a new entrance gate and fixes for erosion problems.

Furney said that a few years ago, workers at Claystone removed dead trees to improve views of the lake. The storm felled more trees. The better views are upping demand.

Furney said he could use more shelters and especially another pavilion at Claystone.

“We’ve got one enclosed pavilion, and that thing is booked pretty much every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from May through September,” he said. A study released in June called for more facilities at Lake Tobesofkee.

The most popular idea was a conference center for 200 people, as well as cabins, more restrooms, pavilions and a children’s water park area. The Bibb County government is reviewing proposals from companies interested in planning more improvements at the lake.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.