This week, the Montgomery County Commission would receive $25 million for economic development around the Montgomery Whitewater recreation facility under Gov. Kay Ivey's proposed Education Trust Fund supplemental budget.
Montgomery County Commission chairman Doug Singleton said in an interview on Friday that the economic development dollars would go towards renovation around Maxwell Boulevard.
"It's for the gateway to Maxwell," Singleton said. "We're going to renovate Maxwell Boulevard as it leads into Maxwell Air Force Base. It's going to help us to be able to develop that on both sides of Maxwell Boulevard to move a lot of the blighted property and spruce up the area there, trying to get some retail in there, some shopping in there."
Singleton said, "of course, the Whitewater project is in there and other things we can do along the river there to boost the economic development in Montgomery County."
According to the project's website, Montgomery Whitewater is a "world-class outdoor recreation and entertainment facility situated on the banks of the Alabama River. At its core is a state-of-the-art, man-made whitewater channel."
"It's kind of the gateway to the city of Montgomery too," Singleton said. "You come in from Prattville on I-65… that's kind of the gateway to Montgomery, the gateway to the Capital City. It's the gateway to Maxwell. It's going to allow us to spruce that area up and bring some life to it. Not only that, but we also strengthen our relationship with Maxwell Air Force Base."
Singleton said the Montgomery Whitewater project is scheduled for a "soft opening probably around Memorial Day" and a full opening around July 8th."
Alabama Department of Finance Director Bill Poole told 1819 News on Friday that the $25 million proposed in Ivey's Education Trust Fund supplemental budget are "for use by the Montgomery County Commission to fund an economic development project or projects that are a priority to the Montgomery County area."
"Based upon communications with leaders across the Montgomery region, it is anticipated that the Gateway project is a local priority based upon the projected economic impact to the region and the location adjacent to Maxwell Air Force Base and the military families located there, and to position Alabama favorably in terms of future base realignment considerations," Poole said.
According to WSFA, the Whitewater project is an estimated $25 million over budget due to unplanned extra costs from inflation.
Ivey's education budget proposal sent to legislators on Tuesday also includes $5 million for the World Games, which took place in Birmingham in 2022 and finished with a deficit of around $14 million last year.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.
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