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New management needed for Stone Mountain Park, as its longtime operator ends contract early

The Stone Mountain Association filed a request for proposals for a new management company on July 15.

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Stone Mountain Park will hire a new management firm to replace its longtime administrator Herschend Family Entertainment Co., according to 11Alive's partner, the Atlanta Business Chronicle. 

The Stone Mountain Association filed a request for proposals for a new management company on July 15.

The Business Chronicle said Herschend ended its 30-year contract to manage the park early. 

Herschend has been managing the 3,400-acre park since January 1998. Its contract was set to end in early 2028. 

Instead, the Business Chronicle said Herschend will end its role as operator in August 2022. 

Herschend currently operates several theme parks such as Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, Wild Adventures Theme Park, among others. 

Bill Stephens, CEO of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, told the Business Chronicle he is confident a new management firm will be found.

Bids are due in September for the new firm. 

The Business Chronicle reports if a new management firm can't be found, it will be the responsibility of the State of Georgia to decide how the park will be managed in the future, Hospitality Executive Mark Woodworth said. 

According to the Business Chronicle, President of Herschend Subsidiary Silver Dollar City Stone Mountain Park LLC Jane Cooper told Stone Mountain officials "events occurring at Stone Mountain Park have caused SMMA [Stone Mountain Memorial Association] to repeatedly breach the obligations it owes."

Back in May, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association announced it will be making some changes to the park in an effort to tell the complete story of its history. 

The association decided to adopt four new resolutions in an effort to do this. 

Over the years, there has been continuous scrutiny over the park's confederate history, which has led to a notable financial loss. 

According to the park's CEO, Stone Mountain Park lost $27 million between 2019 and 2020. This created a 56% drop in revenue that "is not sustainable." Stephens' report also announced that Marriot is leaving the park in 2022. The Marriott is the park's only hotel.

RELATED: Changes coming to Stone Mountain Park in effort to tell complete story 'warts and all'

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