Wetumpka is working to bring in tourists with a $246 million dollar project along the Coosa riverfront. City officials say it's just the first step towards expanding Wetumpka's downtown area.
Wetumpka has big plans for the future as far as expanding the city, and the development will be happening right along the Coosa Riverfront.
Years of planning are becoming a reality in Wetumpka. The city is partnering with the economic development authority to revitalize Wetumpka's downtown riverwalk. Construction is already in the works for the Wind Creek Wetumpka Casino, including a 20 story hotel with nearly 300 rooms and a 90,000 sq.ft. gaming floor.
The casino complex will open up another 600 jobs on top of the hundreds created during construction.
But that's not all.
City officials say visitors and residents could see a new marina and ampitheater along the Wetumpka riverfront in the near future. They say the expansion process will benefit the economy in the long run, and by doing so, bring lots of traffic.
"We're working, we're putting out traffic engineers with their people," Said Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis. "We're sitting down and having dialogue now about how we change this traffic situation. We've laid a lot of ground work to get ready for this."
"It's going to help Wetumpka in being able to complete our riverfront, our downtown development plan. And we do know it's going to bring people, who in turn will bring taxes, who in turn will lure retail and eating establishments," said Wetumpka councilman, Ken Hammock.
But while some people are excited for the changes, others are concerned.
"I think it's a good opportunity for business, I guess, local businesses and new businesses coming into the area. It's a good idea," said Rhonda Lucas of Wetumpka.
"The only thing I've got against casinos is the people that think they can spend their whole pay day and neglect their families," said Janet Hawkins of Wetumpka
City officials say they hope to finish the Wind Creek Casino early 2014, when they hope to start the next step of the expansion.
Separately, construction for the casino will also bring a new parking deck, adding about 2,500 parking spaces to the already 500 spots available.