Florala mayor: Lake House latest positive for town

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Florala Mayor Terry Holley said Monday’s ribbon cutting marking the official reopening of the Florala Lake House is just the latest in a string of positive things happening in the town.

“This is tremendous for us,” Holley said. “It’s beautiful, and it opens the doors for people coming in to our community.

The Lake House, located on Lake Jackson, previously was operated as a bed and breakfast. Owner Ann Shanklin laughed Monday that she was tired of making breakfast, so the facility will operate as a guest house. Beginning later this summer, she also plans to offer the house next door. Already, she has people booking the facility for the near future and for next spring. Rentals are available by the night, weekend, week or month.

Holley has long said Lake Jackson is one of Florala’s biggest drawing cards, and a key to its future. In 2016, ownership of the lake and surrounding area, which was once a state park, was returned to the town.

With beach traffic flowing through town, and lake season going strong, he’s excited about improvements.

“We are doing some improvements at the lake,” Holley said.

The Paxton Masons, along with the Florala Masonic Lodge, have donated a sandbox for the play area, he said. A playground merry-go-round which was used a the park for decades has been taken out of storage and is being restored for reinstallation in the near future.

This week, the city will use the Evans Center on Lake Jackson, which it also manages, to host senior citizens from Andalusia, Opp, Samson and other areas.

“This is the first time we have hosted one of these, and we are looking forward to it,” he said. “We are going to have a Bingo Blast and Penny Auction, from 1:30 until 3:30.”

The town also if thrilled with the recent reopening of the Florala Health Clinic. Andalusia Health opened the facility, and has also worked to bring the helicopter landing area at the now-closed Florala Memorial Hospital up to code so that patients can be air-lifted from there.

The Lake House is just one of the businesses that has opened recently. Tiers of Joy Bakery is enjoying success downtown, as is a new dog-grooming business.

A city-wide clean up event in early May drew great participation, Holley said, and the council will begin abating unsightly properties in the next few weeks to continue the clean-up process.