STONE MOUNTAIN – A company run by a veteran executive at Stone Mountain Park will take over as private manager of the park this summer.
The Stone Mountain Memorial Association’s board voted unanimously Monday to select Thrive Attractions Management to run the park starting in August.
Thrive, owned by Michael Dombrowski, the park’s vice president and general manager since 2014, was the only qualified bidder for the management contract.
“I am thrilled to be able to continue the great work of managing Stone Mountain Park, and to keep in place an experienced group of senior managers and engaged employees,” Dombrowski said after Monday’s vote.
“We’ll build on our success by caring for and loving our employees and guests and ensuring Stone Mountain Park is a welcoming and inclusive environment for all visitors from Atlanta, the nation and the world.”
The board chose Thrive as sole finalist to manage the park last October and entered what turned out to be lengthy negotiations with the company. The 50-page contract was approved Monday following a closed-door executive session that lasted more than an hour.
“This is an important milestone for the Stone Mountain Memorial Association,” said the Rev. Abraham Mosley, chairman of the Stone Mountain board.
“Thrive will continue to bring stability and unmatched depth of knowledge. I’m confident that we will build on the success of the current relationship for the better good of the park and the community.”
The new manager takes over as the park’s board continues to grapple with a tug of war over Stone Mountain’s future between activists pushing to deemphasize Confederate imagery at the park and Civil War heritage preservationists who see Stone Mountain as a memorial to the bravery of their ancestors who fought for the South.
The carving of three Confederate leaders on the side of Stone Mountain cannot be removed by law. Legislation the General Assembly passed in 2019 prohibits removing historic monuments from public property.
However, the board adopted a new logo for the association last year that leaves out the Confederate symbols contained in the old logo.
Also, the board has released a request for proposals for a company with experience in museum exhibition design to develop an interpretive plan for a museum exhibit at the park’s Memorial Hall that will tell a more complete story of the carving as art and Stone Mountain’s role in Georgia history.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.
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