Lake Oliver Bait Shop demolished

Terry Taylor of Reaves Wrecking takes a bite out of the old Lake Oliver bait shop with his excavator’s grappler Thursday. The 800-square-foot building is being demolished to make way for a new 3,350-square-foot facility that will include a grill, conference room and observation deck.

The construction area will be fenced off and traffic rerouted as the $838,000 project continues. Where once boaters traveled to launch from Lake Oliver’s ramps on a clockwise loop, they now will drive counter-clockwise, stopping at a trailer on their way in to pay their $2 ramp fee. The trailer temporarily will serve as the marina bait shop and office. It’s open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.Named for Georgia Power Co. executive James McCoy Oliver, the Oliver Dam impounding the lake was dedicated Nov. 13, 1959, and the old bait shop was thought to be at least 50 years old.

Contracted to WCCI of Columbus, building the new facility will include new walkways, waterfront improvements and new docks. The total cost of upgrading the entire recreation area will be about $1.2 million, funded by a sales tax voters passed in 1999.