STONE MOUNTAIN – The end of an era is coming to Stone Mountain.
The Stone Mountain Memorial Association board voted unanimously Thursday to end a three-decade management agreement with Herschend Family Entertainment effective Aug. 1.
Herschend had notified the board two years ago of its intention to terminate a lease it entered in 1998.
Board members began negotiations last fall with the company chosen as a finalist to take over management of the park. Thrive Attraction Management is headed by Michael Dombrowski, who has served as the park’s vice president and general manager since 2014.
“It’s a new beginning,” Bill Stephens, the association’s CEO, said after Thursday’s vote. “New beginnings are a good thing.”
New management of the park is not directly related to the other ongoing changes at Stone Mountain aimed at de-emphasizing Confederate imagery at the park to the extent possible without removing the giant carving of three Confederate leaders.
The park has a new logo, and the board has released a request for proposals for a company with experience in museum exhibition design to develop an interpretive plan for an exhibit at Memorial Hall that will tell a more complete story of Stone Mountain’s role in Georgia history.
Under the lease termination agreement the board approved Thursday, Herschend will pay the association $4.7 million in rent payments that were deferred beginning in April 2020 resulting from the onset of the pandemic.
Herschend also has agreed to leave all physical assets intact at the park, except Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Snow Angel, two fixtures at Stone Mountain’s annual Christmas Festival.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.