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Dawsonville City Council discusses potential improvements to winner’s circle at racing hall of fame
City hall

During the Feb. 7 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, the mayor and council members heard a presentation about potentially modifying and improving the winner’s circle area in front of City Hall and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. 

City Manager Bob Bolz presented the proposed modification request on behalf of Museum Director Cindy Elliott, telling the mayor and council that, if approved by the council, the modification would include the installation of a covered portico over the winners circle and improvements to the exterior of the museum’s entrance. 

“What the Dawsonville History Museum, aka the Racing Hall of Fame, is proposing is to build a cover so to speak, a pavilion, over the winner’s circle,” Bolz said. “Basically, they would like to cover it, the wall would be removed, they would use it to park cars or whatever they want to do would be out of the weather.” 

According to the museum’s proposal, the portico area would be made available to rent out for events and provide shade for the events hosted by the racing hall of fame. Bolz added that the museum directors have proposed putting things on top of the structure. 

According to Bolz, he and other city staff don’t have a problem with the structure, but they do have several questions they feel need to be answered before the council approves or denies the request. 

“One, are y’all good with that design, does it fit the city and the aesthetics of the city,” Bolz said to the council members during the meeting. “Two, what do we do with our Christmas tree.”

Each year, the city’s Christmas tree is set up in the winner’s circle area, in the same spot where the proposed pavilion would go. According to Bolz, he and city staff have talked with Universal Concepts, the company that decorates and puts up the Christmas tree each year, and the company agreed with the idea of putting it on top of the pavilion if it will be structurally capable. 

“Therein lies the concern the city staff has,” Bolz said. “One, is the ground where the winners circle is now gonna hold a structure of that weight and that magnitude; two, if the pavilion is built will it be structurally sound enough to hold the weight.” 

Bolz said that, while the Christmas tree itself is not very heavy, the water that the company uses to hold the tree in place weighs over a ton, or about 2200 pounds. Moreover, if the tree is raised another 11 to 12 feet in the air it would have to be tied off. 

The staff recommendation to the council, according to Bolz, is that they table the matter until the city can get a structural engineer to review the proposed pavilion and sign off on it. 

“As far as I know architects have designed it but we still haven’t had a structural engineer to say ‘yep it’ll work but you gotta do this, this and this’,” Bolz said. “Staff recommend you table this until we have time to get a structural engineer to look at it and sign off on it, to put the structural engineer in touch with Universal Concepts and make sure this is really a doable thing before you approve one way or the other.” 

Council members voted unanimously to postpone a vote on the matter to the council’s March 21 meeting.