The progress which has been made at Stone Mountain Park since January of 1964 when the Bureau last submitted a report to the Association has been most significant.
Work is underway once more on the carving, the Inn has been finished and is in operation, the highway by-pass is completed, both entrance gates are in operation, and the beautification program within the Park has paid handsome dividends.
In short, the Park has lost its "unfinished" look and now presents the picture of a major attraction in full operation.
For several reasons, this is an excellent time to pause, look closely at what the Park is today, and carefully consider what it might become tomorrow.
In the first place, the Park has had a very good year. It was visited by over one million people in 1965, and from the preliminary results of a survey the Bureau recently conducted, these visitors liked what they found.
An overwhelming 73.5% of the visitors who returned questionnaires handed them at the gates in late August and early September expressed a favorable opinion of the Park. Only 16. 6% indicated an unfavorable or a conditional opinion, with the most common complaint being the prices charged. "Nice but expensive" was a typical response.
This is truly a significant achievement, and indicates a level of accep- tance which is far above what might have been expected at this stage of development of the Park. The future success of the Park seems assured. There is time now to pause and take stock.
There also is need now to pause and take stock. Important decisions face the Association in the months ahead. Some of these concern the type of additional developments which should be constructed at the Park. An important era in the life of the Park is ending; a more important one lies ahead.
When we were asked to prepare recommendations for future develop- ments, we began by attempting to formulate a set of guidelines or basic assumptions about the Park. Such guidelines or assumptions are essential to effective long-range planning. They establish the direction one wishes to go.
In essence, we knew we must formulate a development concept for the Park before we could make specific recommendations to the Association.
The formulation of such a concept usually is not a simple task, for the concept must be precise and in considerable detail if it is to provide the type of guidance which is needed.
As we examined the Park closely, however, we found the job to be less difficult than we had thought; for while there were some inconsistencies in the Park, the basic elements of a development concept were there also. In fact, many of them were surprisingly obvious.
Our job became one of putting these elements together into a meaningful pattern.
It is the purpose of this report to describe a suggested development concept for Stone Mountain Park.
First, certain key questions are explored and some tentative answers are given.
Next, an attempt is made to formulate a concept and to show, by use of specific examples, how it could be applied in Stone Mountain Park.
Finally some implications of the suggested concept are explored and
some conclusions are reached.