Alabama Senate approves beach convention hotel


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Senate passed legislation Tuesday night that would allow a private developer to operate a convention hotel on the beach at Gulf State Park.

The Senate's 23-11 vote sends the bill to the House for consideration.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Trip Pittman of Daphne, said giving a 70-year ground lease to a developer would generate money that would help operate Alabama's other state parks.

Gulf State Park had a lodge and conference center that were ruined by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Gov. Robert Bentley has pushed for the development of a privately operated convention hotel and a publicly funded conference center to attract conventions now going to the Florida Panhandle and Mississippi coast.

Pittman said officials hope to use money from the BP oil spill on the project.

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