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Ala. Spending $65.1 Million, Over 15 Years, At Park

Construction of The Lodge at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Ala. is well underway. The complex is located next to Gulf State Park Pavilion on the east side and Gulf State Park Pier on the west side.

The state will spend $65.1 million over a 15-year period, starting in 2019, to maintain and operate public access amenities at Gulf State Park, according to a settlement agreement reached Thursday (Oct. 5).

According to AL.com, the settlement was reached in a 2014 federal lawsuit questioning the use of BP oil spill money to construct a beachside hotel and conference center between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The $85.5 million portion of the overall Gulf State Park renovation project is anchored by a Hilton hotel and is expected to be constructed by the fall 2018.

“This settlement guarantees that public dollars will go to ensuring better public access to Alabama beaches,” said attorney Robert Wiygul, who represents New Orleans-based Gulf Restoration Network, which sued multiple state and federal agencies objecting to the original allocation of $58.5 million for the project.

“This is a huge win for Alabama,” said Cynthia Sarthou, executive director at GRN. “At a time when the state is closing parks and cutting services, this settlement guarantees that BP disaster funds will go towards providing free beach and park access to Alabama residents for the next 20 years.”

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