If state closes park, Florala wants it back

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Florala City Council on Tuesday voted to send a letter to state leaders asking them to keep the Florala State Park open and stating they will ask for it back, if it closes.

Mayor Robert Williamson said he was extremely frustrated at the situation.

Florala State Park is among 15 state parks that could close if funding is cut.

Williamson said he felt the state parks were being used as pawns in political games.

Williamson said if the park did close it would hurt Florala in terms of sales tax revenue.

“We spend a substantial amount of money on the park,” he said.

When the wetlands walkway was added, the city shelled out $24,000 for the project.

The city has also forked out money for a study on hydrilla, buoys, transported ducks, played a role in building and other things.

“We spend darn near what the state does,” he said.

Williamson said that since the new building is named Rodney J. Evans Conference center and Evans is one of 21 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients in the state that should be taken into consideration.

Williamson suggested that the council “stand is solidarity and ask that the park remain open and if it is closed that the property be turned back over to the city.

The park belonged to the city some 40 years ago.

Williamson said some 27,000 people visited the park in 2009, which was the most recent numbers he had available.

Councilwoman Anne Eason said they should ask for the title to all the park.

“It could end up being a money-maker for us,” she said. “We could come up with something.”

Councilwoman Pat Carmical said she didn’t want the property to go into private hands.

Williamson encouraged the public to write Sen. Jimmy Holley, Rep. Mike Jones, Gov. Robert Bentley, Seth Hammettt and Martha Roby.